A new protest has recently erupted in Iran after a 70-year-old man in northern Iran danced to the tunes of popular music, sparking the ire of Iranian authorities.
It all started in late November when Sadiq Bogi, who owns a small shop in a fish market in the northern city of Rasht, posted a video on his Instagram account of himself dancing and encouraging others around him to join him.
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After a popular DJ named Mohammad Aghapour re-recorded a remix of the song along with a video of the original dance, the video clip went viral on social media inside and outside of Iran.
According to the New York Times, the dance has spread remarkably throughout Iran, where clips have emerged of men and women of all ages performing the same dance moves.
People were dancing in the streets, shops, playgrounds, classrooms, malls, restaurants, gyms, parties and wherever they could gather, the newspaper said.
He says traffic stopped in a major highway tunnel in Tehran when a group of people danced the same way to the beat of the song.
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Young women with covered hair also appeared to dance in public parks, while other young men danced to a hip-hop style.
“It is clear that joining this dance trend sends a strong message that it is a way of protesting and demanding freedom and happiness,” the newspaper quoted Mohammad Aghapour from Tehran as saying in an interview.
In most countries, dancing and singing in public is not prohibited, but in Iran, dancing in public is prohibited, especially between women and between men and women.
Although the application of this provision is regularly challenged by Iranians, the authorities have dealt arbitrarily with clear violators.
Rarely does a song or dance become a collective act of non-cooperation in Iran.
Hassan Radi, director of the Ahwazi Center for Strategic Studies, believes that music, dance and song are deeply rooted in Iranian culture, and attempts by clerics to eradicate or control them since they took over the country 43 years ago have failed. .
Radi added in an interview with the Al-Hurrah website that “the widespread association with the dance scene is a sign of growing anger against the Iranian regime on the Iranian street and popular distaste for the regime’s economic and security policies.”
“The Iranian citizen now looks for any opportunity to express his rejection and dissatisfaction with the situation in Iran in general,” Radi explains.
Sadiq Bougi, a nickname given to him by locals in the city of Rasht, derived from the Persian word for loudspeaker, told a local media outlet that his goal in dancing was to “make people happy and change”. their mentality.”
After the video went viral, authorities arrested a group of 12 people who appeared in the video, shut down their Instagram pages and removed the video from several websites.
Bouqi’s Instagram page, which then had about 128,000 followers, replaced his personal photo with a Justice Department logo, and all of his posts disappeared. Instead, a post from the Department of Justice appeared, “This page is closed. Creating content.” Crime” and the person who participated in the process was dealt with.
A person close to Bhugi, familiar with the details of the arrests, who asked not to be named to protect his safety, called Rasht’s phone interview with the Revolutionary Guards’ local intelligence department, the newspaper quoted him as saying. men and interrogated them for several hours.
Further, “They were blindfolded, beaten, threatened with legal action and forced to sign an undertaking that they would no longer sing or dance in public.”
He confirmed that Buki was detained for several hours and accused of inciting against the government, adding, “As part of the crackdown, the police rounded up street musicians who performed in Rasht, arrested some of them and confiscated their instruments. “
News of the arrest spread like wildfire across Iran, sparking a wave of anger.
Many took to social media to post angry messages, accusing the government of fighting “with glee”.
They said authorities quickly arrested citizens for showing their joy but failed to arrest officials accused of widespread corruption.
The Asian Football Confederation’s official Persian-language page, which has nearly 4 million followers, posted video clips of some Iranian soccer stars and teams dancing, the newspaper reported. Alapana to the rhythm of the song.
A call for change
As a result, authorities backed off their campaign, and police in Gilan province issued a statement on Monday.
Her Instagram page has also been restored with earlier posts about dancing and singing.
Boghi now has nearly a million followers on his Instagram page, and many Iranians hail him as a national hero who inadvertently sparked a renewed call for change.
Radi points out that revolutions and uprisings in Iran usually start spontaneously as a result of someone being assassinated, as happened with Mahza Amini, or as a result of rejecting a particular policy.
Radi compares what is currently happening in Iran to rejecting what the regime wants, “and the issue could develop and there will be a popular reaction and conflict that will lead to an uprising similar to last year’s.”
Mahza Amini, a young Iranian woman, died at the age of 22 on September 16, 2022, three days after she was arrested by morality police in Tehran for not following the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.
Her death sparked widespread protests against political and religious leaders in Iran, and Amini became a symbol of the struggle against the imposition of the hijab. The crackdown on these protests led to hundreds of deaths, and the authorities arrested thousands of people.
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