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Iranian women 'refuse to stay home' on International Women's Day

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By Emma Beswick
Iranian women 'refuse to stay home' on International Women's Day

Iranian women’s rights activists announced on social media they would not "stay at home" on International Women's Day and that they would stage a peaceful protest.

Their goal, they said, was to advocate women's rights and to fight against gender discrimination.

"On this one day, we the women of this country should be able to make these cities our own, stay in the streets, and return to our homes at end of the day without having our bones crushed," activists said in a Telegram message for the event on March 8.

Telegram messages concerning March 8 protests.

My Stealthy Freedom, a group started by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian living in exile in New York, posted a video of women taking off their veils and walking around the streets of different cities.

The videos are a part of ongoing protests against the compulsory veil in Iran.

Women were also filmed singing an equality anthem with the lyrics "despite all difficulties, we stay strong" and repeating "yes I'm a woman" inside a female-only metro carriage in Tehran.

Reports on social media said the protesters, both men and women, attempted to gather in front of Iran's Ministry of Cooperatives, Labour, and Social Welfare in Tehran and were detained.

Social media users also claimed that two journalists from Sharq newspaper were arrested at the same gathering in Tehran.

This video shows the protest where the demonstrators and two journalists were allegedly detained.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), a New York-based advocacy group, said at least 12 people were arrested, according to Reuters, who could not independently verify these reports.