Death of Mahsa Amini: Hundreds of Iranian women burn their hijabs to protest the death of the woman who died in police custody

It was a powerful act of defiance Tuesday night in the Iranian city of Kerman, where women are calling for the hijab to be worn in public — just one of many protests across the country following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. The woman of the year died in police custody last week.

Thousands of people took to the streets on Tuesday night, with videos of protests from dozens of towns and cities — from the capital Tehran to traditionally conservative strongholds like Mashad.

The image shows some protesters: “Women, life, freedom”. Others can be seen setting fires, clashing with the police or removing and burning headscarves, as well as destroying posters of the country’s Supreme Leader and shouting “Death to the dictator”.

In a video from Tehran, young protesters march around a street fire at night, chanting: “We are the children of war. Come and fight, and we will fight.”

Almost every provincial town in Iran’s Kurdish region, including Kermanshah and Hamedan, has also seen demonstrations.

The protests are striking for their scale, violence and strangely feminist nature; the last protests of this size were three years ago, after the government raised the price of gas in 2019.

Witnesses told CNN that Tuesday night’s demonstrations appeared to be “flash protests,” meaning groups quickly form and disperse to avoid clashes with Iranian security forces after the escalation of violence in the past week.

A source said there was at least one instance of a heavy-handed police response on Tuesday near Iran’s Enghelab (“Revolution”) Square, west of Tehran University, which has historically been a rallying point for protests.

“Two young men were beaten and beaten by plainclothes police and riot police, then dragged into the van in front of the subway entrance,” a witness told CNN. “An injured girl who was lying on the pavement was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, and five others were arrested in the north of Enghelab square.”

Five people killed in Iran protests over death of woman in police custody, rights group says
At least five protesters have been shot dead during demonstrations in the Kurdish region in recent days, according to the Hengaw Human Rights Organization, a Norwegian registry that monitors rights abuses in Iran.

He said another 75 were injured in other cities over the weekend.

The protests erupted after the death of Amini, who was stopped and arrested by Iran’s moral police last Tuesday.

Iranian officials said Amini died last Friday after suffering a “heart attack” after falling into a coma after his arrest.

However, her family said she had no prior heart disease, according to Emtedad news, a pro-reform Iranian media outlet that said it spoke to Amini’s father.

Security camera footage released by Iranian state media showed Amini being dropped off at a “re-education” center where she was taken to receive “orientation” on her dress code.

Iran’s morality police is part of the country’s law enforcement and is responsible for enforcing the Islamic Republic’s strict social norms, including a dress code requiring women to wear the headscarf, or hijab, in public.

Mahsa Amini's 'unfortunate' death by Iranian police as protesters take to the streets

An aide to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ordered a “thorough investigation” into Amini’s death during a meeting with his family at home on Monday, according to Iran’s semi-official Nour News agency.

Abdolreza Pourzahabi, Khamenei’s representative in Iran’s Kurdish province, said the supreme leader is “sad” and the family’s grief “is also his grief,” according to Nou.

He added that he hopes the family will have “good will to help restore peace in society”.

At a news conference, also on Monday, Greater Tehran Police Commander Hossein Rahimi denied “false accusations” against Iranian police, saying they “did everything” to keep Amin alive.

He added that Amini was not physically harmed during or after his arrest and called his death “unfortunate”.

Since Amini’s death, internet monitoring website Netblocks has documented internet blackouts since Friday — a tactic Iran used to prevent protests from spreading.