Social media, as well as protests called in Iran, Turkey, Germany and Canada are serving to show public outrage over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died in the custody of the Moral Police, who arrested her in Tehran on September 13 for letting her her hair show through her hijab. She died three days later in a hospital.
Her death has triggered a wave of fury in Iran, with mobilizations that have led to violence between protesters and authorities and have left five people dead. The Iranian Interior Ministry is conducting an investigation into what happened in the hours after Amini entered a police station, in apparent good health, and left in an induced coma. “We have to wait for the medical results to understand the cause of her death, because apparently she had a series of medical problems. She had physical problems. The coroner’s reports have not been completed yet so we cannot comment,” said Home Minister Ahmad Vahidi.
On social media, some protesters are carrying out gestures to vindicate the memory of Mahsa Amini and the fight for women’s rights. Many have shared videos of themselves walking the streets of Iran without their hijabs, and have recorded the aggressive reactions of some men who forced them to wear them, and the arrests of several activists. Others have gone even further, burning their veils in makeshift bonfires during protests, to applause from protesters. Another gesture that could pass for commonplace has become a powerful symbol: getting a haircut. Numerous videos have been posted online of women looking at the camera in silence as they cut their own hair with a pair of scissors. Some protesters have done so in public in Iran and in cities such as Istanbul and Berlin.
Interview with president canceled
In an escalation of the conflict, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday refused to grant a previously agreed interview to CNN star reporter Christiane Amanpour after the latter refused to cover her head with a headscarf, the journalist later explained on her Twitter account. The interview did not take place.
Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly taking place in New York this week, Raisi on Friday acknowledged the matter, saying that Amini’s death “must certainly be investigated,” The Guardian reported.
Protests are sweeping Iran & women are burning their hijabs after the death last week of Mahsa Amini, following her arrest by the “morality police”. Human rights groups say at least 8 have been killed. Last night, I planned to ask President Raisi about all this and much more. 1/7— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) September 22, 2022