Iranian women burn hijabs as protests over Mahsa Amini’s death continue for fifth day
Women in several Iranian cities removed and burned their hijabs (headscarves) to protest their country’s mandatory hijab law as anti-regime demonstrations sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody continued for a fifth consecutive day on Tuesday.
Protests broke out in dozens of cities across Iran, according to videos shared on Twitter by @1500tasvir, an account with over 80,000 followers that posts protest videos received from inside Iran.
Videos showed women removing their headscarves and, in some cases, burning them in several cities in unprecedented scenes in a country where hijab has been mandatory for women since shortly after the country’s 1979 revolution.
In one video from the northern city of Sari, a woman is seen dancing with her headscarf in her hand. She then throws her headscarf into a fire and is cheered on by protesters.
Women in #Iran’s city of Sari burn their hijabs (headscarves) as anti-government demonstrations sparked by the death of #MahsaAmini intensify.#Mahsa_Amini https://t.co/LbsGWVypK9 pic.twitter.com/CnIuxBxJIz— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) September 21, 2022
The protests began after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, was pronounced dead on Friday. Amini fell into a coma shortly after she was detained by the morality police for allegedly not complying with the regime’s strict hijab rules in Tehran on September 13.
Activists and protesters say Amini was beaten by police officers while in detention, causing her serious injuries that led to her death. Police deny the allegations.
Protests also broke out in two conservative cities – Mashhad and Qom. Mashhad is the birthplace of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and is home to the shrine of the eighth Shia Imam. Qom is considered Iran’s “religious capital” as many senior Shia clerics are based there and the city is also home to the shrine of another important Shia figure.
In one video from Mashhad, protesters appeared to have taken control over two police cars. “We don’t want an Islamic Republic,” a woman standing on top of one of the cars shouted, as seen in the footage.
Watch: A woman standing on a top of a police car in #Iran’s city of #Mashhad shouts “we don’t want the Islamic Republic” during anti-regime protests fueled by the death of #MahsaAmini.https://t.co/LbsGWVypK9 pic.twitter.com/gJXWBuyowA— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) September 21, 2022
Videos from several cities showed damaged police vehicles as well as protesters clashing with security forces. As during past days, protesters across Iran chanted against Khamenei and demanded regime change.
One video from the city of Shiraz showed security forces opening fire on people and other videos showed security forces firing tear gas to disperse protesters.
🔴 شیراز - شلیک مستقیم— MoTheProgrammer🇺🇸 (@MoTheProgrammer) September 20, 2022
سه شنبه ۲۹ شهریور pic.twitter.com/zqknC1vkr3
Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday’s protests but downplayed their size and significance. It also accused protesters of damaging public property.
Deaths and foreigners’ arrest
The governor of Iran’s Kurdistan province confirmed on Tuesday the deaths of three people during the protests, holding anti-regime demonstrators responsible.
Also on Tuesday, the governor of Tehran said security forces arrested several foreign nationals during protests in the capital, accusing foreign intelligence services of involvement in the country’s ongoing unrest.
‘Stay out of it’
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Naser Kanani condemned on Tuesday what he described as “interventionist stances” by the US and the EU regarding Amini’s death.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier on Tuesday called on Tehran to “end its systemic persecution of women and to allow peaceful protest.”
The EU had said in a statement on Monday that what happened to Amini was “unacceptable” and that “the perpetrators of this killing must be held accountable.”