At least nine persons have died in protests in Iran after the death of a woman who was taken into police custody for not following the country’s hijab regulations, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
The woman, Mahsa Amini, was detained on Tuesday in the Iranian capital of Tehran by the police unit that enforces the Islamic republic’s obligatory dress codes, including the compulsory wearing of the headscarf in public.
The headscarf and other conservative dress codes, which are mandatory for women of all nationalities and religions in Iran, have been compulsory since the country’s 1979 revolution.
Four protestors were killed in firing in the northwestern province of Kurdistan.
Two others protestors died in the Kermanshah province. A prosecutor claimed that the two protestors were killed by opposition groups, and that the bullets that killed them were not fired by security forces.
In the cities of Shiraz, Tabriz and Mashhad, three men associated with the Basij, a volunteer organisation under the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, were killed in clashes, according to AP.
Some protestors in Tehran and other Iranian cities burnt police stations and vehicles, Reuters reported. Security forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators.
At some places, security officials fired birdshot pellets and beat protestors demonstrators with batons, non-governmental organisation Amnesty International said.
Several videos from Iran showed women removing and burning their hijabs in public during the protests.
Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guards, an armed forces unit formed following the 1979 revolution, urged the judiciary to prosecute those “who spread false news and rumours” about Amini’s death. The police have said that she died due to a heart attack, but the woman’s family has disputed the claim.
“We have requested the judiciary to identify those who spread false news and rumours on social media as well as on the street and who endanger the psychological safety of society and to deal with them decisively,” the Guards said.
Iran also blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp amid the protests, AFP reported. “In accordance with a decision by officials, it has no longer been possible to access Instagram in Iran since yesterday (Wednesday) evening and access to WhatsApp is also disrupted,” AFP quoted the semi-official Fars news agency as reporting.
Several social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, YouTube and Tiktok, are blocked in the country.
Internet connections have reportedly slowed significantly in Iran since the protests erupted.
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