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6 Iranian youths arrested over 'Happy' video

Pharrell expresses his sadness at the arrest of Iranian youths who filmed their own 'Happy' video

By Nalisa Alia Amin | Published: 22 May 2014

Video: POOYA JAHANDAR

You’ve all heard Pharrell Williams’ hit single Happy as an anthem for optimism, but it seems that the Iranian government isn’t that happy about it. Recently six youths from Tehran, Iran were arrested by authorities due to 'obnoxious' behaviour after they uploaded a video on YouTube of them dancing to the hit single. Fortunately, the detention only lasted a day as the young men and women were released this morning, except for the director.

Since the release of the song last year, Happy has been a global online phenomenon, with people all over the world creating their own versions of the video. We even made our own Kuala Lumpur version

The Happy in Tehran video earned more than 165,000 views before it was made private due to the attraction of the national authorities. According to Iran's state-run IRNA News Agency, police chief Hossein Sajedinia said the "vulgar clip" has "hurt public chastity".

Pharrell even took notice of the incident and tweeted his disappointment yesterday.

Pharrell’s not alone in his disappointment; netizens have made the hashtag #FreeHappyIranians on Twitter to protest the arrest.

Prior to the video's release, one of the video’s participants 'Neda' had spoken to IranWire, stating that she and her friends were aware of the risk in making the video. "We were really afraid. Whenever somebody looked out of a window or someone passed by, we ducked behind a door to make sure we were not seen… We wanted to tell the world that the Iranian capital is full of lively young people and change the harsh and rough image that the world sees on the news."


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