Iran: Anti-Hijab Protests Escalate Over Woman’s Death In Morality Police Custody


New Delhi: The death of a 22-year-old woman following arrest by Tehran’s “morality police” during a visit to the capital on September 13 has triggered fresh protests in Iran. Public ire has grown since authorities on Friday announced death of Mahsa Amini in a hospital after being in a state of coma for three days, reported news agency AFP.

Check latest update on the protest

Demonstrations were held in several regions including the capital city of Tehran and the second city Mashhad, according to the Fars and Tasnim news agencies.

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Protesters took to Hijab Street or “headscarf street” in central Tehran protesting against the morality police, the ISNA news agency reported. Several hundred people chanted slogans against the authorities while some of them took off their hijab, reported the news agencies adding that several people were arrested and dispersed using batons and tear gas.

In a separate video, a crowd of several dozen people, including women can be seen with their headscarves removed shouting “Death to the Islamic republic!”

A similar gathering in the northeastern city of Mashhad was witnessed, the Tasnim agency reported.

On Sunday, the police arrested and fired tear gas in the home province of the woman who belonged to Kurdistan, where some 500 people had protested and smashed car windows and torched rubbish bins, reports said.

Students rallied at Tehran and Shahid Beheshti universities, demanding “clarification” on how Amini died, according to Fars and Tasnim news agencies.

Five people were killed in Kurdish region on Monday after security forces opened fire during protests, a Kurdish rights group said during the third day of turmoil, reported news agency Reuters.

Ban Enforced By Morality Police

According to the morality police, a dress code in the Islamic republic demands women wear headscarves in public. The dress code also bans tight trousers, ripped jeans, clothes that expose the knees and brightly colored outfits. Police have insisted there was “no physical contact” between officers and the victim.

Police Response

Tehran police chief General Hossein Rahimi said on Monday that the woman had violated the dress code, and her relatives were asked to bring her “decent clothes”. Rejecting “unjust allegations against the police”, Rahimi said “the evidence shows that there was no negligence or inappropriate behavior on the part of the police”. “This is an unfortunate incident and we wish never to see such incidents again”, said Rahimi, as reported by AFP.

President Ebrahim Raisi, an ultra-conservative former judiciary chief who came to power last year, has ordered an inquiry into Amini’s death.

World Reaction

European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Amini’s “unacceptable” death was a “killing” following the injuries she suffered in police custody. Borrell demanded perpetrators must be held accountable and the Iranian authorities must respect its citizens’ rights, the AFP reported.

France said her death was “deeply shocking” and called for a “transparent investigation… to shed light on the circumstances of this tragedy”.

Amini’s death has reignited calls to rein in morality police actions against women suspected of violating the dress code, in effect since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Filmmakers, artists, athletes and political and religious figures have taken to social media to express their anger.


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