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#FreetoProtest Series: Episode 2

In the second episode of our series on the right to protest, we focus on women taking to the streets to protect their rights, in both Iran and Poland. Over the past two years, there has been an alarming retreat from the defence of women’s reproductive rights. Poland introduced a near total ban on abortion in 2020. In the US, the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade last summer, ending the constitutional right to abortion after nearly 50 years. But this sea change has triggered remarkable protest movements. In Poland, the Polish Women’s Strike was at the vanguard. Nationwide, hundreds of thousands came out to defend their rights in the largest protests since the fall of communism. In Iran, the death of Mahsa Amini in September sparked unprecedented demonstrations across the Islamic Republic, after she was arrested by the morality police for not following the obligatory dress code. ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ is the slogan of the protest movement. But this uprising has also become a call for wider radical change, as the government cracks down on the demonstrations. We hear from Maziar Bahari, founder of IranWire – the first outlet to break the story of Mahsa Amini’s death. We also speak to Marta Lempart, founder of the Polish Women’s Strike.