Anti-Hijab protests intensify in Iran

New York: Fresh protests broke out in Iran over the death of a young woman who had been arrested by the “morality police” that enforces a strict dress code, local media reported.

Public anger has grown since authorities last week announced the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in a hospital after three days in a coma, following her arrest by Tehran’s morality police during a visit to the capital on September 13.

Demonstrations were held in Tehran, including in several universities, and the second city Mashhad, according to the Fars and Tasnim news agencies.

Protesters marched down Hijab Street — or “headscarf street” — in central Tehran denouncing the morality police, the ISNA news agency reported.

So far, police have made arrests and fired tear gas in the dead woman’s home province of Kurdistan, where some 500 people had protested, some smashing car windows and torching rubbish bins, reports said.

The morality police units enforce a dress code in the Islamic republic that demands women wear headscarves in public. It also bans tight trousers, ripped jeans, clothes that expose the knees, and brightly colored outfits.

Tehran police chief General Hossein Rahimi the woman had violated the dress code, and that his colleagues had asked her relatives to bring her “decent clothes”.

Students rallied at Tehran and Shahid Beheshti universities, demanding “clarification” on how Amini died, according to Fars and Tasnim news agencies. Amini’s death has reignited calls to rein in morality police actions against women suspected of violating the dress code, in effect since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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