Up to 92 people were reportedly killed during a protest against the death of a 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini, who was beaten in police custody for not correctly wearing her headscarf. She later died in the hospital. Many women rushed out to the streets to burn their hijabs and cut their hair.
There has been a long history of Women in Iran being forced to wear head coverings when out in public. It is against the law in Iran for women not to wear headscarves or “hijab” in public. Any woman who goes against this law is arrested.
There have been protests against hijab-wearing since 1979, when the government first introduced the mandate. During the 19th century, women were in the streets protesting the law.
Iran has the morality police, who check to see if women are correctly wearing Islamic clothing. It includes long, loose-fitting clothing to hide their figures and head coverings to cover their hair. The morality police also stop men who are wearing western hairstyles.
“In reality, morality police are the manifestation of the pressure the Islamic Republic applies to women,” said an Iranian writer who does not want to be identified.
The recent protests were sparked after a 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini died in the hospital after being in a coma for three days. Mahsa Amini was visiting family in Tehran, Iran, when she was arrested for not wearing her head covering correctly and wearing tight pants. Authorities have denied beating Mahsa Amini while she was in custody and claimed that she died from heart failure, but her family has said that she did not have any previous health issues that would cause heart failure.
Protests started on September 16th, 2022. Thousands of people from different backgrounds flooded the streets supporting Mahsa Amini. Women burnt their hijabs in solidarity with the deceased woman. Many were also seen cutting their hair. Security forces have confronted Iranian protesters, and they have used deadly force.
According to France24.com, “Iran’s intelligence ministry said Friday that nine foreign nationals — including from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland — were arrested “at or behind the scene of riots,” along with 256 members of outlawed opposition groups.”
Iran has also blocked its citizens from being able to use the internet. They plan to restrict the use of the internet until the protests stop.
The protests are the largest women-led protest in the history of Iran. The protests are not only about the death of Mahsa Amini, but they are also about how women are being treated in Iran. According to mei.edu, “Women and girls in Iran are vulnerable to violence and harassment.” and “In domestic cases, the court considers men as heads of the household with legal authority over their wives.”
The protests show that the citizens of Iran want real change and for women to have fundamental rights.