Unrest has gripped Iran over the gruesome death of a woman, who was beaten to death by police officers for not following the country’s strict hijab rules.
Mahsa Amini, 22, was pronounced brain dead after being arrested and reportedly put in a coma for failing to cover her hair with a hijab.
On the third day, hundreds of protesters in Tehran and the Kurdistan province where Mahsa lived took to the streets demanding justice for her death.
After her funeral in her hometown of Saqez in western Iran, protests broke out on Saturday.
Police officers opened fire on protesters in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province, and used water cannons to try to disperse the growing crowds elsewhere.
The footage showed courageous women tearing off their headscarves in the street and shouting “Death to the Islamic Republic”.
Other women have defiantly filmed themselves cutting their hair and setting fire to their headscarves.
Dozens were arrested after protesters smashed car windows and set bins on fire as tensions with police exploded.
Mahsa had traveled from the western province of Kurdistan to visit relatives in the capital, Tehran.
According to Iranian police, she did not comply with the strict dress code, which by law requires women in Iran to wear a hijab, and was arrested by the “morality police”.
She died in hospital hours after her arrest after reportedly being beaten to death.
According to leaked scans, Mahsa reportedly suffered a fractured skull and internal bleeding.
The White House has called Mahsa’s death a “appalling and egregious assault on human rights.”
“The death of Mahsa Amini from injuries sustained while in police custody for wearing an ‘improper’ headscarf is an appalling and egregious attack on human rights,” a spokesman said.
“Women in Iran should have the right to wear whatever they want free from violence or harassment.
“Iran must end the use of violence against women for exercising their fundamental freedoms. There must be accountability for Mahsa’s death.”
Mahsa’s brother Kiarash told Iran Wire that he was with his sister when she was arrested.
He said a police car blocked their path before officers grabbed Mahsa and forced her inside.
Kiarash said officials told him his sister would be released an hour later after a “re-education class” – but when he reached the building he said he heard screams.
He said other women fled the building.
“Each of them said someone inside was killed,” he said.
“I showed the women Mahsa’s picture. One of them said Mahsa was next to her when it happened.
“I was shocked and scared. I asked one of the soldiers what happened. He said, “One of our own soldiers was injured.”
“He has lied. I didn’t believe him. It was Mahsa in that ambulance.
Police officers have insisted there was “no physical contact” between officers and Mahsa – claiming she died of a heart attack.
Tehran Police Chief Gen Hossein Rahimi said the woman broke the dress code and his colleagues asked her relatives to bring her “decent clothes”.
He dismissed “unjustified allegations against the police” and said “the evidence shows that there was no negligence or improper conduct on the part of the police”.
“This is an unfortunate incident and we never wish to see such incidents happen again,” he said.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has ordered an investigation into the death and, speaking to the woman’s family, has promised to follow up the case.
The judiciary has launched an investigation, and a parliamentary committee is also dealing with the incident.
Hijab has been compulsory for women in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and the “morality police” are in charge of enforcing the rules.
The force has been criticized in recent years for its treatment of people – particularly young women.
Dozens of women took off their headscarves in protest in 2017.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6256337/iran-swept-riots-protesters-woman-battered-by-cops/ Iran was engulfed by CIVIL UNREST as police officers opened fire and protesters shot with water cannons over the brutal death of a woman beaten by police officers