Tehran: The 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody has sparked protests on a different level.
As the protests continue to rage, as many as 31 people have died in a police crackdown over the death of Mahsa Amini.
Some women have publicly cut their hair and burned their headscarves, in defiance of the Iranian authorities.
A number of protesters have now been killed, after confrontations with security forces and pro-government militia.
Amini had travelled to Tehran with family from the northwestern Kurdistan province when she was detained for what the police deemed to be “immodest clothing” on September 13.
After her death, on September 16, Iranians took to the streets across the country, calling for justice for Amini, and angry at the authorities and morality police, who they blame for her death.
While the authorities claimed that she had a heart attack while staying in a “guidance centre” – a type of re-education centre where women are taught how to follow Iran’s rules on female clothing, the father of Mahsa Amini, Amjad Amini, accused the authorities of lying about her death.
“Your Islam denounced her, now you’ve come to pray over her? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? You killed her for two strands of hair! Take your Islam and go,” said Mahsa Amini’s father in a viral video.
Amini’s case, and the protests that have followed, have shone a spotlight on the rules about the way women have to dress in Iran and the accompanying backlash.
Mobile networks have been largely shut down and access to Instagram and Whatsapp have been restricted in Iran. Iran on Wednesday restricted access to Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the last remaining social networks in the country, after anger at the death of a woman detained by the morality police fuelled protests.