Student unions across Iran have called for mass protests against mandatory hijab rules as the authorities intensified threats toward violators of the Islamic Republic’s strict dress codes.
"We should respond to the government's repressive measures by organizing protest rallies, protest performances or sit-ins and by writing slogans on Saturday,” the student organizations said in a joint statement on April 12.
According to the statement, the government has started implementing a plan to enforce hijab “using brutal behavior and repressive forces in universities.”
“This has led to female students being prevented from entering universities for not observing mandatory hijab and to gender segregation at the entrance of universities,” it said.
The statement calls on “students from all over the country to stand together against the repressive forces of the government, including security and plainclothes officers.”
The text was backed by student unions from multiple universities, including Isfahan University, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Beheshti University and Tehran University.
All women in Iran must conceal their hair with a headscarf and wear loose fitting trousers under their coats while in public.
But a growing number of women have appeared in public without a hijab since a young woman, Mahsa Amini, died in police custody in September 2022, triggering nationwide protests demanding more freedoms and women’s rights. Amini had been arrested for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly.
The authorities have repeatedly warned women to respect the Islamic Republic’s dress codes and threatened to punish violators. Some defiant women were arrested or summoned by the authorities, while many businesses were shut down due to the failure of owners or managers to observe hijab rules.