A photo of a couple in Iran kissing in the streets has gone viral as a unique and beautiful act of defiance at a time when the government increases its crackdown on nationwide protests.
The photo depicts a man and woman kissing in the street, surrounded by cars. Their faces are obscured, but the woman is wearing no headscarf – an even more open act of defiance that relates to the alleged crime that sparked the protests in the first place.
“There’s a reason why this photo has gone viral on social media,” Lisa Daftari, Middle East expert and editor-in-chief of The Foreign Desk, told Fox News Digital.
“This photo symbolizes so many aspects of the current revolution in Iran. A woman who is boldly defying hijab laws, a couple breaking strict Sharia law which forbids kissing in public, particularly if they are unmarried, and bravely standing in the middle of traffic to make their message known to the world,” she explained.
The protests started in mid-September after the country’s morality police arrested 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for not properly wearing her hijab. The police rushed her to hospital an hour later with what appeared to be injuries sustained from a beating, and she died a few days later.
The anti-hijab sentiment has stood as a clear unifying symbol for the protesters with women removing their hijab and cutting their hair in the first days of the protests.
“Iranian youth are incredibly energized to let the world know that they’re not going to back down,” Daftari said. “They are fighting for every freedom.”
The protests have now spread to over 140 towns and cities and lasted for over two months. Iranian security forces have killed at least 326 protests, according to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights NGO, with some groups estimating the total may be higher.