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Source: REF/RL

Mar 10, 2023

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Iranian security forces are trying to identify and potentially arrest five young girls who were shown dancing in a viral video that was published from Tehran's Ekbatan neighborhood, local sources say.

The video of the five young girls dancing to music by Nigerian singer Rema was released on March 8, coinciding with International Women's Day.

The video was shot in the courtyard of Block 13 in the Ekbatan neighborhood and went viral on social media, garnering thousands of views and shares from users in Iran and around the world.

Meanwhile, the "Ekbatan" Twitter account, which covers the events of the neighborhood and was one of the first accounts to release the video of the five girls dancing, warned on March 10 of the possibility of their detention and mistreatment.

The account wrote that security forces were looking for CCTV footage in Block 13 to identify these girls, while questioning the guards of the neighborhood and Block 13.

Reports also indicate that the Instagram page of the person who first released the video of the girls has been deactivated.

Ekbatan has been one of the epicenters of protests in the Iranian capital for the last six months, demonstrating defiance amid unrest over the death of a young woman while in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly.

The security forces have made extensive efforts to suppress the protests in the neighborhood, with widespread and multi-stage arrests since the third month of the protests.

Despite all these arrests and the intensified security situation in Ekbatan, the protests there continue on the verge of the seventh month of protests, and protesters continue to hold protests and shout anti-government slogans at night there.

The unrest was sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16. The 22-year-old died in custody after being arrested by the notorious morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic dress code.

Her death, which officials blamed on a heart attack, touched off a wave of antiestablishment protests in cities across the country. The authorities have met the unrest with a harsh crackdown that rights groups say has killed more than 500 people, including 71 children.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda
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