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Iran detains 5 over mixed-sex teenage skateboard gathering

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranian state media reported Friday that authorities have detained five people accused of organizing a skateboarding event where dozens of teenagers mixed freely and girls didn’t wear headscarves.

A video of the “Go Skateboarding Day” held off a boulevard in the southern city of Shiraz went viral on social media, prompting anger among conservative religious authorities in a country where the wearing of a Muslim hijab is mandatory for all women and teenage girls.

The state TV report said the provincial judiciary was looking into the event, while the state-run IRNA news agency reported that a rally to oppose Western-style gatherings of teenagers would be held after Friday prayers in Shiraz.

Iran is a theocracy where clerics control nearly all the levers of power, and seek to dominate all aspects of life. They have long viewed such activities as part of a “soft war” by the West against the Islamic Republic.

Iranian law bans women from appearing in public without covering their hair with a hijab — a strict dress code imposed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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