MARIWAN, Iranian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – Kurdish women in Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhelat) are creating a pledge with officials to allow females to participate in the “Green Tuesday” bicycle rides.
On Monday, thousands began to sign a petition and join a campaign to support detained female cyclists.
Environmental activists in the city of Mariwan, Kurdistan Province, near the border with the Kurdistan Region, organized a car-less Tuesday event to battle pollution.
Numerous young men and women were riding their bikes toward the Zrebar Lake before Iranian police stopped the women.
The officers ordered them to sign written pledges vowing not to repeat the “unlawful violation” and took several women who protested into custody.
Female bicyclists are subject to controversy in Iran for breaking strict dress codes and modesty laws.
Campaign managers believe the laws are stricter in the Kurdish region than in the capital, Tehran, where women are less likely to be punished for riding bicycles.
“Is the government incapable of defending women’s right to use public space?” Read the campaign letter.
“Didn’t the new government promise to protect women’s rights? Shouldn’t it be a priority for the officials to battle domestic violence instead of creating further obstacles for women activities?” The letter continued.
Mariwan has repeatedly made headlines for its exceptional female campaigns, environmental activities, street theatres, and teachers’ movements in Iran, emphasizing gender equality.
Afsaneh Beheshtizadeh, a campaign manager, told Kurdistan24 that about 30 percent of the cyclists were female and mostly under the age of 18.
Those who objected to signing the pledge had their bikes confiscated, including a young man who tried to defend the women.
They were also temporarily detained but were released later.
“We initiated the campaign to support female cyclists, not because we have any hopes the officials will publicly acknowledge our problems and find a solution,” Beheshtizadeh stated.
The manager also added that the campaign is aimed at raising “awareness about the situation of adolescent women who are denied basic activities such as cycling.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany