The streets of Tehran are patrolled by Gasht-e Ershad, the notorious “morality police” who search the streets for people in improper clothes, then snatch them off in a van to for detainment. One new app amazingly helps women (and men) dodge them.
It basically works like Waze, but instead of marking speed cameras or speed traps or traffic or whatever, the app marks where the Gasht-e Ershad are.
Gershad’s creators say they see the app as a form of “nonviolent resistance” to Iran’s morality police, who sometimes deploy heavy-handed tactics. “We know how embarrassing, humiliating and at times frightening it can be to be stopped by Ershad,” one of Gershad’s creators said in an email. (The developers declined to disclose their identities for this article, citing concerns over government retaliation.)
The Gasht-e Ershad enjoy broad powers, and can stop people for a broad range of offenses — hugging someone of the opposite sex in public, for example, or exposing piercings and tattoos. Women are regularly targeted, though those in Iran’s LGBT community can run into trouble as well, experts say. The officers travel in groups of four — two men, two women — and are frequently stationed outside of malls, restaurants, and other social hotspots. Experts say that for young Iranian urbanites, avoiding the Gasht, as they’re known colloquially, has become a part of everyday life.
If this isn’t brilliant, I don’t know what is.
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