Fury grows in Iran over death of woman in custody

STORY: Protesters took to the streets of Iran's capital Tehran for a third day on Monday over the death of a woman in police custody.

22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested last week by morality police, who enforce strict hijab rules in the Islamic republic.

But Amini fell into a coma and died shortly after.

The incident made headlines around the nation and has provoked widespread anger.

The protests have been most intense in the Kurdish region where Amini was from.

On Monday a Kurdish rights group reported that five people were killed there after security forces opened fire at protesters.

Reuters could not independently verify the claims, while there was also no official confirmation of the deaths.

Anger has also spilled into social media, where the Persian hashtag #MahsaAmini became one of the top hashtags ever on Persian-language Twitter.

Iranians on the streets criticized the presence of the morality police altogether.

"My voice trembled when I heard this news because this has happened to me once or twice. I was thinking that if this happened to me, how would my parents feel?"

"If they are supposed to be present, there is no need for so much violence and creating fear among the people."

The circumstances surrounding Amini's death are still unclear.

Police are rejecting allegations that she was beaten, saying instead that she fell ill as she waited with other detained women.

But her father says the police are responsible for her death.

He has repeatedly said his daughter had no health problems, while adding she had somehow suffered bruises to her legs.

The White House has condemned the incident, calling on Iran to end what it calls "violence against women for exercising their fundamental freedoms".