Iranians outraged over arrest of teenage girl for Instagram dancing clips


In 2014, an Iranian woman protested against Iran's strict laws by dancing publicly on the Tehran metro (video below).

Hojabri posted around 300 videos on her Instagram account and majority showed her dancing in her room to Iranian and western music. In several videos, she chose to appear without wearing the obligatory headscarf.

Critics of the arrest of gymnast Maedeh Hojabri, 18, used the hashtag #Dancingisnotacrime and Iranian women posted videos of themselves dancing in public. "The person playing the instrument cut my performance short and left the scene because of the fear that his instruments would be confiscated if police saw a woman dancing". Iranian-American journalist Arash Sigarchi tweeted: "40 years ago, dance were taught in school in Iran but after the Islamic revolution 1979 it became a big crime!"

Khojabiri said she only wanted only to attract more subscribers to her page. Many of them have been performing dance forms like the Australian shuffle on the streets (video below). I did not have any intention to encourage others doing the same ... I didn't work with a team, I received no training.

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Ms Hojabri's videos showed her dancing at home without the mandatory headscarf, or hijab. "I only do gymnastics".

A local news website, Shabooneh, said the girl and three others were detained on similar charges in recent weeks before being released on bail. People in Iran typically get around government blocks of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by using VPNs. Dancing with people of the opposite sex with who are not relatives is forbidden.

Iranian media outlets reported that authorities were looking into banning more Instagram accounts or shutting down access to the site completely. Earlier this year, an official in the city of Mashhad was arrested after footage emerged showing a crowd of men and women dancing at a mall in the city, while six people were arrested for Zumba dancing in August.