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Protests erupt at funeral of Iranian woman who died after morality police arrest

Protests erupt at funeral of Iranian woman who died after morality police arrest
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DUBAI, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Protests erupted in western Iran on Saturday at the funeral of a young woman who died after being detained by morality police enforcing strict hijab rules, while security forces used tear gas to disperse the protesters.

Videos posted on social media showed protesters shouting anti-government slogans after gathering in Saqez, Mahsa Amini’s hometown, from nearby towns in Iran’s Kurdistan province as they mourned the 22-year-old who died in a hospital in the capital. Tehran on Friday.

“Death to the dictator,” a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the crowd shouted, as some women removed their headscarves. Police were seen firing tear gas and a man was shown on video with a head injury that someone could be heard saying was caused by buckshot. Reuters was unable to authenticate the videos.

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In recent months, rights activists have urged women to publicly remove their veils, a gesture that could risk arrest for defying the Islamic dress code as the country’s hardline rulers crack down on “immoral behaviour”. . read more

Videos posted on social media have shown cases of what appeared to be heavy-handed actions by morality police units against women who had removed their hijab.

The protests spread later on Saturday to the provincial capital, Sanandaj, with videos on social media showing crowds chanting “Saqez is not alone, Sanandaj supports him.” Protesters were seen clashing with riot police amid the sound of sporadic gunfire.

DEATH INVESTIGATION

Authorities have launched investigations into Amini’s death, but a coroner said Saturday that forensic test results may take three weeks. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli told state television there were no reports of her being beaten.

Police said Amini fell ill while waiting with other women detained at a morality police station, rejecting accusations on social media that she was likely beaten.

Police released closed-circuit television footage that appears to support their version of events. Reuters was unable to authenticate the video, which appeared to have been edited.

Police earlier said Amini had suffered a heart attack after being brought to the station to be “educated”. His relatives have denied that he suffered from any heart condition.

Leading sports and arts figures posted critical comments on social media about Amini’s death and protests were held in Tehran on Friday amid a heavy riot police presence.

As during previous protests, authorities appeared to have restricted mobile internet access in Saqez and nearby areas, according to social media posts.

Internet blocking observatory NetBlocks reported “significant internet disruption” in Tehran on Friday, linking it to the protests. read more

Under Iran’s Sharia, or Islamic law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are required to cover their hair and wear long, loose clothing to conceal their figure. Violators face public reprimands, fines, or arrest.

Decades after the revolution, clerical rulers still struggle to enforce the law, with many women of all ages and backgrounds wearing tight, thigh-length coats and brightly colored scarves pulled back to reveal lots of hair.

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Information from the Dubai newsroom; Edited by Alex Richardson

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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