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Women, Life, Freedom!

The walls of Tehran and other Iranian cities, inside classrooms and out in the street, have been filled with stencils and writings in support of the protest movement that erupted in the wake of Jina (also known as Mahsa) Amini's death. Prior to this uprising, stencils across city streets exhibited the various hardships people in Iran struggle with: from water scarcity in the Khuzestan province, to fuel price hikes, and to the imprisonment of teachers' union leaders.

The slogan زن زندگی آزادی (Women, Life, Freedom) has become the rallying cry of Iran's latest protest movement — one that is led by schoolgirls and women.

Schoolgirl standing in front of graffiti

"These days many hands are coming together in back alleys, classrooms, and universities, and they plant hope for life and freedom on the walls and streets." (Source: Khiaban Tribune

Stencil of woman holding up her fists

"Jin, Jiyan, Azadî" (ژن، ژیان، ئازادی), the Kurdish version of the "Women, Life, Liberty!" slogan, which has roots in the Kurdish independence and women's liberation movements. (Source: Nasser Teymourpour via @khiabantribune)


A stencil of Nika Shakarami, a 16-year-old girl who disappeared after joining a protest in Tehran on September 20, 2022, and being chased by security forces. She was later pronounced killed. (Source: Khiaban Tribune)


A stencil of the slogan "Women, Life, Liberty!" (زن زندگی آزادی). (Source: Khiaban Tribune)


Graffiti in solidarity with Jina Amini that reads, "If we do not come together, we will each end up alone". (Source: Khiaban Tribune)


A pamphlet circulating in support of artist and writer Sepideh Rashno, 28, after she was detained by police, tortured, and forced to apologize on national television.

The pamphlet reads:

1. Collective violence is harder. We have not left and will not leave each other alone on the scene of violence.

2. Women protesting the mandatory hijab have been detained. All of them should be released without condition.

3. Each person has the right to choose how they dress. Forcing a certain type of dress, even if it is the law, is violence.

4. Women pay the price of the compulsory hijab, but reactionary and anti-women political groups exploit it. Liberation is our right. Our unity is our strength.

(Source: Khiaban Tribune)

Stencils of women killed in the latest protests

Stencils of women who were killed in the latest protests in various Iranian cities: 16-year-old Sarina Ismailzadeh, 62-year-old Mino Majidi, and 32-year-old Ghazaleh Chelavi, among many others. (Source: Khiaban Tribune)


A stencil that reads: "strike, unity, victory."

"The general strike is a vital weapon for overthrowing them, and redirects the stage of struggle from hand-to-hand combat on the streets to the government's main arteries. If it gains footing, it can paralyze the entire repression apparatus. Let's help awaken this sleeping giant; this collective power." (Source: Khiaban Tribune)

Stencil against internet censorship

A stencil from October 2021 that reads, “maintenance necessitates felonies” in a reference to the government shutting down the internet under the guise of maintenance during popular movements and protests. (Source: Khiaban Tribune) 


Stencil in Iran

A stencil from July 2021 in solidarity with Arab women farmers who were protesting water shortages in the Khuzestan region.

The photo is captioned: "The Arab woman farmer's screams at the police are a mirror of women's struggle to overcome thousands of obstacles, the shackles of legal discrimination, inequality in family rights, and sometimes even tribal traditions, to reach the street and public spaces." (Source: Khiaban Tribune) 

Stencil against unemployment

Stencil decrying unemployment and capitalism from the city of Shiraz in the summer of 2020. (Source: Khiaban Tribune) 


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