Female protesters beaten in Iran

Police attack a group of women calling for marriage, divorce and custody rights.

Published June 13, 2006 2:30PM (EDT)

The BBC reported last night that a group of about 20 Iranian women protesters were violently beaten by police in Tehran on Monday. The women were calling for a ban on polygamy, as well as for equal divorce and custody rights. They had advertised their protest against Islamic laws they believe to be unjust online. According to the BBC, the women were seated in the grass in a central square, singing a feminist song, when police, who greatly outnumbered them, moved in and started to beat them so viciously that passing men shouted, "These are our sisters, how can you do this?" The dispersed women then reassembled on the other side of the square, where the police used pepper spray against them, prompting more onlookers to urge, "Leave them alone."

According to the BBC's Tehran correspondent, one male bystander yelled at the maurauding officers, "Why do you take money from the government to beat women like this?"

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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