‘Bouqi’ dance…new protest movement angering Iran’s regime

Recently, a new form of protest broke out in Iran. A 70-year-old man in northern Iran danced to pop music, triggering the anger of the Iranian authorities.

It all started in late November, when Sadiq Boqi, who owns a small stall at a fish market in the northern city of Rasht, posted a video on his Instagram account of himself dancing and encouraging People around him joined him.

The clip went viral on social media in Iran and abroad after a well-known DJ named Mohammad Aghabour re-released a remix of the song along with the original dance video.

The dance is widely circulated across Iran, where similar videos of men and women of all ages performing the same dance moves have emerged, The New York Times reported.

People danced in the streets, in stores, playgrounds, classrooms, shopping malls, restaurants, gyms, parties and other places where they gathered, the newspaper reported.

She added that traffic in a major highway tunnel in Tehran came to a standstill as a group of people danced in the same manner to the tune of a song.

Young girls with uncovered hair were also seen dancing in the park, while other young men performed dances in a hip-hop style.

‘Powerful message’

“Obviously, joining this dance trend sends a strong message that it is a way to protest and demand freedom and happiness,” the newspaper quoted Mohammad Aghabour as saying in an interview in Tehran.

Dancing and singing in public is not taboo in most countries, but in Iran, dancing in public is prohibited, especially between women and men.

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Although the application of this rule is often questioned by Iranians, authorities apparently deal arbitrarily with violators.

In Iran, rarely does a song or dance turn into a collective act of civil disobedience.

Hassan Radhi, director of the Ahwaz Center for Strategic Studies, believes that music, dance and singing are deeply rooted in Iranian culture, and attempts by the clerics to abolish or restrict them have failed since they took control of the country some 43 years ago. .

Radi added in an interview with Al-Hurra website that “the widespread interaction with the dance clip demonstrates the escalation of anger on the streets of Iran against the Iranian regime and popular disdain for the regime’s economic and security policies.”

“The Iranian citizen is now looking for any opportunity to express his rejection and dissatisfaction with the overall situation in Iran,” Radi explained.

The newspaper stated that Sadiq Bouqi was a nickname given to him by local residents of Rasht City. This nickname is derived from Persian and means loudspeaker. He told local media that his goal with dancing was to “make people happy and make a difference.” their mood. “

After the video went viral, authorities arrested 12 men featured in the video, shut down their Instagram pages and removed the video from multiple websites.

On Butch’s Instagram page, which had about 128,000 followers at the time, the Judiciary’s logo appeared instead of his personal photo, and all his posts disappeared, replaced by a post belonging to the Judiciary that read : “This page has been closed for content creation. “Criminal offense” and those who participated in the activity will be dealt with.

The newspaper cited a person close to Butch who was familiar with the details of the arrest and asked that his name not be published to protect his safety. men and then interrogated them for several hours.

He added, “They blindfolded them, beat them, threatened them with legal action and forced them to sign a pledge that they would never sing or dance in public again.”

He also confirmed that Butch had been detained for several hours and charged with incitement against the government, adding: “As part of the crackdown, police mobilized street musicians performing in Rasht, arrested some of them and confiscated their musical instruments.”

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News of the arrests spread like wildfire through Iran, triggering a wave of outrage.

Many people posted angry messages on social media, accusing the government of cracking down on “happiness.”

They said authorities were quick to arrest citizens simply for expressing joy but failed to arrest officials accused of rampant corruption.

The dance protests have become so influential, the newspaper reported, that the official Farsi page of the Asian Football Confederation, which has nearly 4 million followers, posted a video of some Iranian football stars and teams dancing and shouting slogans. video. Match the tune of the song.

call for change

As a result, authorities abandoned the operation, and Gilan provincial police issued a statement on Monday denying the arrest of Buki.

His Instagram page has also been restored, containing all his previous posts about dancing and singing.

Boqi now has nearly a million followers on his Instagram page, and many Iranians have hailed him as a national hero, inadvertently sparking renewed calls for change.

Radi noted that revolutions and uprisings in Iran often start spontaneously due to someone being assassinated, as happened with Mahersa Amini, or as a result of the rejection of a certain policy.

Lardy likened what is currently happening in Iran to refusing what the regime wants. “Things may develop that will cause popular reactions and conflicts that could lead to an uprising similar to last year’s uprising.”

Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian woman, died on September 16, 2022, at the age of 22, three days after she was arrested by Tehran’s moral police for not complying with the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.

Her death triggered widespread protests in Iran against political and religious leaders, and Amini became a symbol of the fight against mandatory hijab wearing. The crackdown on these protests resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests by authorities.

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