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Videos are surfacing on the internet of hundreds of women protesting in the streets of Iran, burning their hijabs and cutting their hair in outrage over the death of a 22-year-old woman while in police custody.
The scenes in Iran are astonishing. How far will these protests go?
— Frida Ghitis (@FridaGhitis) September 20, 2022
“Mahsa Amini, 22, was on a trip to Tehran with her 16-year-old brother when the hijab police, also called the ‘morality police’, arrested her for not wearing the outfit that fully matched the Sharia-based hijab laws of the country. Despite her brother’s resistance, she was taken into custody only to be announced dead at a hospital three days later, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.”
Based on the country’s interpretation of Sharia, Iranian laws require women to cover their hair with a hijab (headscarf) and wear long, loose-fitting clothing to disguise their figures.
Joyce Karam, Senior Correspondent at The National News, said, “Today, a 22-yr-old woman died in #Iran after being beaten on head by the regime’s “morality police” for not “properly” wearing her Hijab. Her name was Masha Amini.
Her crime was showing some hair. Let that sink in…”
Rare mass hijab protest by Iranian women against morality police
Outrage began to spread through the country and other journalists began to spread awareness around the issue. A graphic video posted in a Tweet by Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad details disturbing and seemingly frequent altercations between other women and morality police.
Do you really want to know how Iranian morality police killed Mahsa Amini 22 year old woman? Watch this video and do not allow anyone to normalize compulsory hijab and morality police.
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 16, 2022
The video shows one woman being confronted by a group of Iranian women. The altercation becomes physical when the morality police attempt to detain her. You can hear her crying and screaming as she’s being taken away, eventually dragged and falling down concrete stairs.
Another clip shows two women standing in front of what appears to be a police transport vehicle, attempting to stop it from driving off with a detained relative.
While the head of the Forensic Medicine of Tehran concluded that Mahsa Amini’s fatality was a result of a background condition, her father, Amjad Amini, rebuked those claims in an interview with the BBC. He asserted, “The person who hit my daughter should be put on trial in a public court.”
Supporters call for international action
Supporters calling for justice and freedom from dictatorship also believe that the injuries sustained and ultimately causing Mahsa’s death happened during the clash with the morality police, prompting them to protest.
Unprecedented scenes in Iran: woman sits on top of utility box and cuts her hair in main square in Kerman to protest death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the morality police. People clap their hands and chant “Death to the dictator.” #مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/2oyuKV80Ac
— Golnaz Esfandiari (@GEsfandiari) September 20, 2022
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi condemned the protests but also pledged an investigation into the death of Mahsa Amini.
During a sideline news conference on Thursday at the United Nations General Assembly, he warned protesters that these “acts of chaos” are “unacceptable” and added that he had ordered an investigation into the case of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died last week after being arrested for wearing “unsuitable attire.”
Meanwhile, human rights groups report that at least seven protestors have been killed since Wednesday and there are also reports that an internet blackout has been implemented by the Islamic nation. Supporters on the ground are asking that people around the world to “Be Our Voice” in light of possible censorship and retaliation.