Tehran [Iran]: A series of protests erupted in western Iran on Saturday over the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, following her detention by Iran’s morality police where the women protestors took their hijabs off to protest the mandatory veiling, media reports said.
In multiple videos that are going viral on social media showed protesters were seen shouting anti-government slogans after gathering in Saqqez, the hometown of Mahsa Amini as they mourned the 22-year-old who died in a hospital. A huge crowd of people have gathered at the cemetery, chanting “Death to Dictator” slogan, according to videos received by Iran International.
In Saqqez city the women protestors took their hijabs off to protest the mandatory veiling, media reports said.
Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and activist on her social media account shared the alleged visuals of the protests and wrote, “Women of Iran-Saghez removed their headscarves in protest against the murder of Mahsa Amini 22 Yr old woman by hijab police and chanting: death to dictator! Removing hijab is a punishable crime in Iran. We call on women and men around the world to show solidarity.”
“This is the real Iran, Security forces in Iran’s Saqqez opened fire at peaceful protesters following the burial of #Mahsa_Amini. Several protesters have been injured. First Hijab police killed a 22 Yr old girl and now using guns and tear gas against grieving people,” she added in another tweet.
In dismay over the turn of events, the journalist slammed Iran’s ‘Morality Police’ and compared their behaviour with the story of the novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” written by Margaret Atwood. She said that the perpetuated events are not fiction for the Iranian women but are a reality.
She registered a strong protest against Iran’s ‘Morality Police’ and continued, “Iranian women! Take off your forced hijab, burn the most visible symbol of oppression. Let’s not forget that Masah Amini was killed by hijab police and now we are all Mahsa. We all protest against compulsory hijab and the Islamic Republic. We want freedom.”
As per her statements on social media the protests have been spreaded to Iran’s Sananda city as well where they joined the people of Tehran and Saghez to protest against the “killing of Mahsa Amini by hijab police.”
People are frustrated and they want to be heard, she remorse over the death of the 22-year-old. “Islamic Republic beats, jails, tortures and KILLS us when we demand our basic rights in Iran,” she wrote.
The journalist stressed that the people of Iran do not need “thoughts and prayers” and demands action. She called on the UN and women everywhere to show solidarity and sisterhood with Iranians.
According to the journalist, the 22-year-old Masah Amini was forced to wear the hijab and was beaten up by morality police because of wearing “bad hijab”.
“Iranian women are outraged. Forced hijab is the main pillar of religious dictatorship.” A controversy was also erupted on social media as Amini died after slipping into a coma following her detention by Iran’s morality police, a dedicated unit that enforces strict dress codes for women, such as wearing the compulsory headscarf, media reports said.
As per Al Jazeera, Mahsa Amini, 22, was on a visit to Tehran with her family when she was detained by the specialist police unit. After a while, she suffered a heart attack and was immediately taken to hospital with the cooperation of the emergency services.
“Unfortunately, she died and her body was transferred to the medical examiner’s office,” state television said on Friday, reported Al Jazeera. The announcement came a day after Tehran police confirmed Amini had been detained with other women for “instruction” about the rules.
Human rights activists who have spoken to the family said the police grabbed Amini and forced her inside a police vehicle, CNN reported quoting IranWire. Her brother, Kiarash, intervened however the police told him that they are taking his sister to the police station for one hour of “re-education.”
Her brother waited outside the police station for her to be released however an ambulance pulled up and took his sister to the hospital. “The woman was sent to a Greater Tehran police precinct for guidance and education when suddenly, in the presence of other people, she had a heart attack,” the police said, reported CNN quoting state media.
Questioning the version of events given by police, the Mahsa’s family said that she was normal with no pre-existing heart conditions.
Human rights organisation Amnesty International said, “The circumstances leading to the suspicious death in custody of 22-year-old young woman Mahsa Amini, which include allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in custody, must be criminally investigated.”
“The so-called ‘morality police’ in Tehran arbitrarily arrested her three days before her death while enforcing the country’s abusive, degrading and discriminatory forced veiling laws. All agents and officials responsible must face justice,” it added.
Following the incident that sparked a fury on social media, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ordered the interior minister to open an inquiry into the case. Several lawmakers said they would raise the case in parliament, while the judiciary said it would form a special task force to investigate, reported Al Jazeera.
Amini’s death comes amid growing controversy both inside and outside Iran over the conduct of the morality police, known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad (Guidance Patrol). The mandatory dress code, which applies to all nationalities and religions, not just Iranian Muslims, requires women to conceal their hair and neck with a headscarf, reported Al Jazeera.
Over the decades, women have increasingly pushed back, particularly in the big cities, wearing their headscarves far back on their heads to reveal their hair. (ANI)