Protests in Iran ignite after death of Mahsa Amini

Mahsa Amini was a 22-year-old Iranian woman who was allegedly killed by Iran’s morality police. She was arrested on Sept. 13 while driving with her family. Three days later, she died in a hospital in Tehran.  

Iran’s morality police enforce a dress code that is based on Islamic values. Women, regardless of religious belief or nationality, are supposed to wear a hijab or some type of garment that covers their hair. The police claimed that her hijab was not being worn properly and they arrested her.

Amini was detained and transported in a van to a nearby police station. Her brother, who was with her at the time, was told that she would be released after being shown an educational video on how to dress. Her brother waited for her to be released but was informed that she was taken to a hospital after suffering a heart attack and seizure. 

She was pronounced brain dead after arriving at the hospital and later died.

Amini´s family claims that her injuries were induced by the officers after seeing bruises all over her body. The other women who were detained with her said that they witnessed her being severely beaten in the van before arriving at the police station.

Following the news that Amini suffered abuse while in police custody, people began to protest in Tehran. After a few days, protests were organized all around the country. 

Amini’s death instilled fear in many women in the country.

Junior Farah Dahmane Ayad said, ¨These women want their voices heard and want people to know the pain that they’re going through.¨ The protests are not only fighting for Amini’s justice, but for theirs as well. 

Photos and videos of the protesters were shared across social media. Many women were pictured taking off their hijabs, some women were pictured burning their hijabs or cutting large portions of their hair. 

Junior Rime Nabih said, ¨(The protesters) burning the hijab is, in my opinion, extremely disrespectful because the hijab does not equal the Iranian government¨ 

The Iranian government has used tactics to suppress the protesters. Police have used tear gas and metal pellets, but even more, the brutal force has been used. Over 40 lives have been lost as a result.

The government has also banned applications like Instagram and WhatsApp after hashtags like ¨#MahsaAmini¨ and ¨#OpIran¨ began to trend on social media. They have also limited Internet access in the country to try to stop more protests from being organized. 

The fight for Mahsa Amini has spread and demonstrations have taken place outside of Iran in U.S. cities such as Atlanta, D.C, and Los Angeles. Political figures have spoken out and shared their solidarity with the Iranian people. 

US President Joe Biden said, ¨We stand with the brave citizens and brave women of Iran.¨

The religious garment has been subject to controversy for many years. After the hijab was banned in some French and Indian schools, protests were also organized. 

Nabih said, ¨The religion of Islam teaches it is a woman’s right to wear a hijab or not. It is not forced, it’s a choice.¨ 

The protests continue to take place, fighting for the forced hijab law to be abolished.