PETALING JAYA, Sept 22 — Women in Iran are cutting their hair and taking off their hijabs to protest the death of Mahsa Amini.
Mahsa died in Tehran last Friday, just days after being arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly.
According to Al Jazeera, the 22-year-old suffered a stroke and several heart attacks while she was detained by the Gasht-e Ershad or “Guidance Patrol”.
On Monday, Greater Tehran Police Commander Hossein Rahimi called Mahsa’s death “unfortunate” and denied that local police had harmed her, Reuters reported.
However, witnesses reportedly claimed that Mahsa had been beaten by local authorities, while her family has insisted that she had been physically well prior to her arrest.
The incident has sparked unrest in several cities such as Tehran and Kermanshah, with thousands taking to the streets in protest against Mahsa’s alleged mistreatment.
Female protestors in particular, have been showing their defiance by publicly chopping off their hair, with some removing ― and even burning their hijabs.
Unprecedented scenes in Iran: woman sits on top of utility box and cuts her hair in main square in Kerman to protest death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the morality police. People clap their hands and chant “Death to the dictator.” #مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/2oyuKV80Ac
— Golnaz Esfandiari (@GEsfandiari) September 20, 2022
— Pouria Zeraati (@pouriazeraati) September 19, 2022
Women have also taken the protest online by posting videos of cutting their hair to social media.
One such video by Iranian singer Donya Dadrasan has gained over one million views at the time of writing.
@donya موهامو زدم... به اميد اومدن روزي كه زنان سرزمينم آزادانه بخندند، برقصند، بپوشند، فرياد بزنند، نفس بكشند و زندگي كنند ... #مهسا_امینی original sound - donya dadrasan
Meanwhile, internet monitoring watchdog Netblocks claims that its network data shows a “near-total disruption” of internet access to parts of the country, with Instagram and Whatsapp being severely restricted.
#Iran is now subject to the most severe internet restrictions since the November 2019 massacre. Mobile networks largely shut down (MCI, Rightel, Irancell - partial) Regional disruptions observed during protests Instagram, WhatsApp restrictedhttps://t.co/8cCHIJA2Oi
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) September 21, 2022
Under Iran’s penal code, as published in RefWorld, women who appear in public without a proper hijab can be fined or be imprisoned from ten days to two months.