An Iranian woman received an outpouring of support from followers on social media after officials arrested her for posting Instagram videos that showed her dancing to Iranian and Western pop music.
Maedeh Hojabri was seen on State TV Friday appearing to confess to her “crimes” while crying and shaking. The 18-year-old gymnast was detained after she was seen dancing to pop music in her bedroom and was not wearing a headscarf, which is required in the country.
The video was posted on Hojabri’s Instagram account, on which she amassed 600,000 followers, The Guardian reported. Her account was reportedly suspended.
“It wasn’t for attracting attention,” the Instagram star said in her apparent confession. “I had some followers and these videos were for them. I did not have any intention to encourage others doing the same…I didn’t work with a team, I received no training. I only do gymnastics.”
Hojabri was with other detainees accused of the same crime.
Hojabri’s arrest, however, has prompted outrage among other social media users. Several women have posted videos of themselves dancing, with the hashtag #Dancing_isn’t_a_crime.
"If you tell people anywhere in the world that 17 and 18-year-old girls are arrested for their dance, happiness and beauty on charges of spreading indecency, while child rapists and others are free, they will laugh! Because for them, it's unbelievable!" blogger Hossein Ronaghi tweeted.
Another woman wrote, "I'm dancing so that they [the authorities] see and know that they cannot take away our happiness and hope by arresting teenagers and (girls like) Maedeh."
The Iranian government has enforced strict rules involving dress codes and dancing in public. In 2014, six Iranians were arrested after they were captured on video dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy.”
Six people were arrested in August after partaking in Zumba, an exercise that involves dancing, the BBC reported.