In pictures: Iraqi women take to the streets, defying government and conservatives
Thousands of women took to the streets on Thursday in response to a Twitter post by Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr which called for gender segregation in anti-government protests that have swept Iraq since October.
On the left, a woman carries a poster saying "the world needs a revolution led by women" while the poster on the right says "by revolution, we brought our home back". (MEE/Ameer Hazim Jasim)
The march started from Baghdad's Saadoun tunnel and ended in Tahrir Square. A woman carries a poster saying "we are the home, who are you!" (MEE/Ameer Hazim Jasim)
Zainab Al-Rubaie, a 21-year-old activist, said: “The goal of our protest is to be equal with men in protesting and demanding the rights we were deprived of for years. I feel happy when I participated in the march, it demonstrated how we all men and women support each other.
"United we stand, divided we fall." (MEE/Ameer Hazim Jasim)
The male protesters circled the women to protect them from any danger and ensure the march went smoothly (MEE/Ameer Hazim Jasim)
Many posters contained revolutionary slogans. One poster reads: “The three most beautiful things in Baghdad - your eyes, lipstick and the revolution."
“Yes, women can, this is what we chanted during the march,” said Rubaie. “We are demonstrating for democracy and freedom, but the government responded by force to curb our movement." (MEE/Ameer Hazim Jasim)
“In this march, we demand a change to the corrupted political class, stop Iran and its proxies expanding in the country, and end impunity for the protesters’ killers,” said Ban Falih Majeed, a 30-year-old activist from Baghdad.
“By this women-led march, we broke down all the taboos, we chanted against anyone wanting to steal the revolution, and against those who asked women to stay home and not to go to the protest areas.” (MEE/Ameer Hazim Jasim)
Another Baghdad resident, Zainab Safaa, a 21-year-old university student, said: “The woman is a key of this revolution, she plays multiple roles, she is a revolutionary woman, paramedic, and gives physical and moral support.” (MEE/Ameer Hazim Jasim)
"We will never go back home until we achieve our demands - we took to the streets to gain the victory. This march is not just to demand women's rights, but to demand them for all Iraqis," said Safaa. (MEE/Ameer Hazim Jasim)
“Women going down to the streets broke down the community’s bond - it's a response to anyone who tried to keep women silent or wants to segregate the two sexes or minimise women’s role in the country." (MEE/Ameer Hazim Jasim)