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Thursday, September 22, 2022 – Women in Iran have set fire to their headscarves as protests erupted across Iran in response to a woman dying in the custody of the country’s “morality police”.
On September 13, 2022, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, originally from the city of Saqqez in Kurdistan Province, in western Iran, was in Tehran, having travelled there to visit family.
She was at the entry of Haqqani Highway with her brother Kiaresh Amini when she was arrested by the regime’s so-called “Guidance Patrol” and transferred to the “Moral Security” agency, allegedly for wearing an inappropriate hijab.
Activists claim Amini was beaten by police while being taken to a detention facility in a van causing serious injuries that led her to slip into a coma and die.
The Islamic religious police, an agency tasked with enforcing sharia law, has denied any wrongdoing and claimed she died from a heart attack.
CCTV videos of the event, released later by the Tehran police, show her collapsing to the ground at the moment of her arrest.
Across Tehran and cities in the Kurdistan province, people have taken to the streets, in violent protests which have resulted in an estimated 221 wounded people, 250 arrests and three alleged deaths.
Now taking to the streets for the fifth day running, the women of Sari, Mazandaran, ripped off, waved and set alight their hijabs as they protest Amini’s death.
Police responded to the dozens of women around the bonfire by firing tear gas at the women last night, BBC Persian reported. Security forces also opened fire and unleashed water cannons on the crowds in the capital, with videoes posted by journalists showing officers chasing protesters down and beating them with batons.
According to video footage tweeted by 1,500 Images, an anti-government group, the women in Sari were in no way alone as dozens of similar protests broke out.
Men joined the women to protest and chanted: “We will fight and take our country back.”
The protesters have also been chanting, “death to the dictator” as they call for the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his son and likely successor, Mojtaba, to be overthrown.
The Kurdistan Human Rights Network, a nonprofit based in Paris, France, claimed anti-riot police have killed at least six protesters in rallies held in Orumiyeh, Piranshahr and Divandarreh.
According to the state-run IRNA news agency, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has asked government officials to investigate Ms Amini’s death.