TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iranian police fired tear gas Saturday to disperse a protest rally in the west of the country after a funeral ceremony for a young woman who died in police custody in Tehran earlier this week, agency semi-official Fars news reported.
Police have said 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained on Tuesday after Iranian “morality police” found fault with her headscarf or hijab, died of a heart attack. footage from the police station shows the moment Amini collapsed, they say, and a relative said she had no history of heart disease.
According to a Fars report, after Amini’s funeral in the city of Saqez, about 460 kilometers (280 miles) west of the capital, Tehran, some protesters gathered in front of the governor’s building, chanting slogans. The report did not elaborate.
After the police showed up and fired tear gas, the protesters dispersed. There was no immediate information on any injuries.
Videos posted on social media on Saturday appeared to show protesters in Saqez chanting anti-government slogans but The Associated Press could not authenticate the videos or confirm the location in the footage.
Amini’s death has sparked an outcry against the morality police from celebrities and celebrities on social media. Iranian judges launched an investigation into her death.
The headscarf has been compulsory for women in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the strict dress code is enforced by members of the morality police. The force has been criticized in recent years for its treatment of people, particularly young women, and videos uploaded to social media have shown officers forcing women into police vehicles.
Since 2017, after dozens of women took off their headscarves in public during a wave of protests, authorities have taken tougher measures.
However, the reformist political party Etemad Melli urged the Iranian parliament to cancel the law on the mandatory hijab and suggested to President Ebrahim Raisi to get rid of the morality police.
Kasra hospital in Tehran, where police took Amini after she collapsed and slipped into a coma, said she was admitted without vital signs.
Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, who rarely reacts publicly to events in Iran, expressed grief and called Amini’s death in custody a “crime”.
Iranian hardliners have called for strict punishment and even betrayal of women who disobey the hijab law, arguing that allowing women to show their hair leads to moral decay and the dissolution of families. In recent years the judges have urged people to come forward with information about women who do not wear the hijab.