Iran, Women
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Fury as Iranian town bans women from cycling

Hundreds of people marched their bikes through the streets of Marivan, a town in western Iran last Tuesday in protest at the decision by local authorities to ban women from using bicycles.

More and more Iranians have been getting on bicycles since Iranian authorities launched an anti-pollution campaign encouraging citizens to cycle every Tuesday. The initiative has been well-received and thousands of Iranians are now riding their bicycles at least once a week.

However, in the town of Marivan, local authorities did not like the idea of women participating in this initiative. On July 26, the police ordered women to stop cycling. According to local activists, at least five women were even arrested, only to be freed a few hours later.

Numerous residents of Marivan were angered by the way the authorities were pressuring women to stop cycling. These past two Tuesdays (August 2 and August 9), hundreds of men and women marched their bicycles through the town streets in protest of the ban.

This video was filmed during the first protest, held on Tuesday, August 2. Police officers tried to disperse the protesters. A woman replies that if she can cycle in the rest of Iran, there is no reason that she shouldn’t be allowed to cycle in Marivan.

“According to the local iman, women should not cycle because it goes counter to the teachings of Islam”

Jiar (not his real name) lives in Marivan.

“For the past three months, both men and women in Marivan have been riding bicycles every Tuesday. People were really excited about the initiative. Some people even organised group rides to Zaribar lake, which is about three kilometres from the town centre.

However, two weeks ago, the police told women that they should stop cycling in public. They said the only places where women could ride bicycles were in gyms and parks. The next Friday, the top local imam, Mamusta Mostafa Shirzadi, actually said that women shouldn’t be cycling because it is counter to the teachings of Islam.”

Initially published on France24 on 08/11/2016
Read the full story here.

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