A group of Iranian teen girls have been detained for dancing to a song.
The girls who shared a video dancing to Nigerian singer, Divine Ikubor aka Rema’s ‘Calm Down’, were reported to have been detained and pressured into apologising for the act.
A tweet from the Twitter account Shahrak Ekbatan said the five girls were first brought in and given a warning, then called again and detained for two days before being compelled to make a coerced confession.
According to Fox News, security forces last week started looking for the five girls soon after the video, which was filmed near Ekbatan, west of Tehran, gained popularity online. They weren’t wearing headscarves, which are required for women in Iran, as the video was shared on the International Women’s Day.
The dance video was released last Wednesday, March 8, which was the International Women’s Day.
Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari said the video would be considered ordinary in most cities around the world but in Iran, “it’s an act of defiance.”
“I wonder if @heisrema knows that his song #CalmDown is the backdrop of an incredibly courageous act of defiance by young Iranian women?” tweeted a Canadian journalist, Nahayat Tizhoosh. “It started when five girls danced to his music in @shahrak_ekbatan- risking persecution by a regime that has murdered women for simply protesting.”
Another handle, @IranIntl_En tweeted, “This video of Iranian girls in Tehran’s Ekbatan neighborhood dancing unveiled to the song Calm Down by Rema and Selena Gomez has gone viral. Women are banned from dancing in public in Iran.”
Reacting to the news, Rema via his official Twitter account, said, “To all the beautiful women who are fighting for a better world, I’m inspired by you, I sing for you, and I dream with you.”
An Ekbatan Twitter account which posts events in the neighborhood, warned on Friday that the girls faced possible arrest and detention.
The account said Iranian security forces were reviewing CCTV footage at the tower block to identify the girls and were questioning the guards.
The PUNCH reports that Iran witnessed protests in 2022, which were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old Iranian woman died on September 22, 2022 while in police custody, following her arrest for not wearing her headscarf properly.
Many Iranian women then took to streets to protest the development with some taking off their headscarves and throwing into fire.
“No to the headscarf … yes to freedom and equality!” protesters in Tehran chanted in a rally that was echoed by solidarity protests abroad.
Fox News said officials in Iran’s theocracy initially dismissed the reports, but later described them as intentional attacks involving some 30 schools, with some speculating they could be aimed at trying to close schools for girls in this country of over 80 million people.
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