(The Hill) – Iran has been rocked by protests over the past week following the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody who was detained after allegedly not wearing a hijab properly.
The country’s morality police, which is responsible for enforcing what is deemed proper religious observance in public, arrested Mahsa Amini earlier this month for violating the state dress code. She collapsed the day she was arrested and died a few days later from what Iranian authorities have said was a heart attack.
But many inside Iran and throughout the world, including the United States, have cast doubt on the government’s claims, and hundreds of women have taken to the streets to burn their hijabs in protest of the country’s policies.
A hijab is a head covering that some Muslim women wear, covering their heads, necks and ears but leaving their faces visible.
Iranian officials are attempting to get the largest protests in years under control, using live ammunition, tear gas and pellet guns. Authorities have reportedly confirmed at least 17 deaths, while others have made higher estimates as thousands of Iranians in cities nationwide protest the government’s actions.
The leader of the morality police announced in 2017, while the more moderate President Hassan Rouhani was in power, that arrests for dress code violations would no longer occur, but the police force has cracked down this year under President Ebrahim Raisi, who is considered a hard-liner.
A video filmed in the Iranian city of Kerman shows a large group of protesters gathered in public as a woman not wearing a hijab cuts her hair and raises her fist in the air, CNN reported.
Protests have broken out in Iran a few times over the past several years. Demonstrators marched against high fuel prices in 2019 and water and electricity shortages last year.