March 7 2010: International Women’s Day Protest, Washington DC


photo courtesy of Saeed Salehinia

by Maria Rohaly
On Sunday, March 7, 2010, Mission Free Iran attended a rally for International Women’s Day in honor of Iranian women. Organized by Saeed Salehinia of WPI and other local activists in the Washington DC metro area, the rally took place in front of the Iran Interest Section of the Pakistani Embassy on Wisconsin Avenue.

The weather was sunny and warm (60F), resulting in more pedestrian traffic in the area than usual, which brought more attention to our protests on behalf of Iranian women. Because most of the protest signs in use since the June elections were not focused on the issue of women’s equality in Iran, a local activist donated several signs demanding gender equality and an end to gender apartheid in Iran.

We opened the event with chants against the Islamic Republic and its policies of gender apartheid. The event had an open microphone, so several people took the opportunity to speak out in support of women’s equality in Iran and around the world. Maria Rohaly read Mission Free Iran’s Women’s Day statement (here). Local activist Majid then read a statement on the use of the hijab and chador as the symbol of both the Islamic Republic and of women’s slavery; the statement was followed by the throwing of several chadors on the ground, which were then stepped, stomped, and trampled upon. Another local activist spoke out about the situation of women in Iran and his support for gender equality. These statements were followed by more chants, then some picture-taking, before Salehinia made a final statement and the event drew to a close.

Mission Free Iran would like to express our deep appreciation of all of the members of the Washington DC community who came out to stand with Iranian women on International Women’s Day.

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