|22-year-old Mahsa Amini fell into a coma and subsequently died after she was detained by Iran's "morality police". Her death has sparked outrage online and prompted wide-spread and growing protests.
Amini was detained by the specialist police unit on the grounds that she was not following Iran's strict dress code, obligatory for women, which dictates they cover their hair with a hijab and wear a long, loose-fitting tunic over their clothing. The legislation is deemed "abusive, degrading and discriminatory" by Amnesty International.
State television reported that three days after her arrest, Amini "suddenly suffered a heart problem" and was immediately taken to hospital. However, these circumstances are heavily doubted and accusations of abuse and ill-treatment have been made.
|Since 2017, women have gained momentum in protests against mandatory dress codes, which has been met with tougher measures by the authorities. Earlier this year, surveillance cameras were introduced to root out and fine unveiled women.
This week, a mass movement in response to Amini's death has seen women burning their headscarves and cutting off their hair. Protests have escalated dramatically this week with police forcefully trying to disperse demonstrators with tear gas and metal pellets; a number of deaths have been reported. Internet access has been shut off in some parts of Iran as well as access to apps, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, that they perceive could stoke further protests.
This is not a fight against the hijab, but a fight for the right to choose, a fight for women's bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity.