Protests began at the funeral of an Iranian woman who died after being imprisoned

Protests began at the funeral of an Iranian woman who died after being imprisoned
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DUBAI, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Protests broke out in western Iran on Saturday at the funeral of a young woman who died after being detained by morality police for complying with strict hijab rules, with security forces using tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

Videos circulating on social networks showed demonstrators chanting anti-government slogans after gathering in Mahsa Amin’s hometown of Saghez. They came from nearby cities in Iran’s Kurdistan province to attend the funeral of a 22-year-old man who died in a hospital in the capital Tehran on Friday.

The crowd chanted “Death to the dictator” – referring to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and some women took off their headscarves. Police were seen firing tear gas and a man with a head injury was heard on video saying it was caused by birdshot. Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the videos.

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The protests moved to Sanandaj, the capital of the province, and continued until late at night. In videos circulating on social networks, the crowd chanted “Sagez is not alone, but is supported by Sanandac.” The participants of the march were confronted by riot police amid occasional gunshots. Other videos released showed youths burning tires and throwing stones at riot police amid clouds of tear gas.

In recent months, rights activists have called for women to publicly remove their headscarves, a gesture that risks arrest for violating the Islamic dress code as the country’s hardline rulers crack down on “immoral behavior”. read more

Videos circulating on social networks show instances of morality police units taking harsh measures against women who remove their hijabs.


Authorities have begun tests on Ami’s death, but the medical examiner said Saturday that forensic results could take three weeks. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli told state television that there was no information about him being beaten.

Police said Amini fell ill while waiting at the morality police station along with other detained women and denied allegations on social media that she was beaten.

Police have released closed-circuit television footage that appears to support their version of events. Reuters was unable to verify the identity of the video, which appears to have been edited.

Police had earlier said that Amini suffered a heart attack after being taken to the station for “training”. His relatives denied that he was suffering from any heart disease.

Prominent sports and arts figures have written critical comments on social media about Amini’s death, and protests were held in Tehran on Friday amid a heavy presence of riot police.

Social media posts indicate that, as during past protests, authorities have restricted access to mobile internet in Saghez and nearby areas.

Internet blocking watchdog NetBlocks reported “significant internet outages” in Tehran on Friday, which it attributed to the protests. read more

Under Iran’s sharia, or Islamic law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women must cover their hair and wear long, loose clothing to hide their figures. Violators face public censure, fines or imprisonment.

Decades after the revolution, clerics still struggle to enforce the law, with many women of all ages and backgrounds wearing tight, thigh-length coats and brightly colored scarves pushed back to reveal lots of hair.

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Report from the Dubai newsroom; Edited by Alex Richardson and David Gregorio

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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