Why Iranian Women Are Cutting Their Hair and Burning Their Heads During Protest

Why Iranian Women Are Cutting Their Hair and Burning Their Heads During Protest

The death of a young woman in the custody of Iran’s morality police has sparked protests across the country – and around the world – as women burn their headscarves and cut off their tails in protest against the government’s restrictions on social freedoms.

Women are at the forefront of the protests that have been erupting in many cities across Iran for seven days straight. Images and videos shared on social media showed women flouting the country’s strict dress code when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was allegedly arrested.

Amini was approached by morality police outside a subway station while on vacation in Tehran on September 13 and arrested for allegedly violating the country’s strictly enforced dress code, NBC News reported.

Police said Amini was ill, suffered a heart attack and fell into a coma, and was pronounced dead on September 16. Authorities have denied Amini was mistreated and said an investigation into her death is ongoing, but her family denied she had any previous health problems. .

In one video of a protest in the last few days, a woman is seen throwing a scarf into a bonfire before others start throwing their headscarves into the flames. Another video shows a woman getting her hair cut in front of a large cheering crowd.

Iranian women protest (Yasin Akgul/AFP via Getty Images)

Iranian women protest (Yasin Akgul/AFP via Getty Images)

NBC News reports that many protesters are chanting against the Iranian government and in favor of women’s rights, as well as public actions against the country’s dress code. Since 1979, women in Iran have been required to wear a headscarf and loose clothing in public.

In response to the protests, the police fired live rounds and water cannons at the demonstrators, and beat them with clubs. At least 26 people died during the protests in the country, according to Iranian state television.

TODAY was unable to independently verify the number of people killed in the protests.

Internet access is limited in several cities across Iran, according to reports in state media and the Kurdistan-based Hengaw Human Rights Organization. Iran also has limited access to Instagram, one of the only social media platforms left in the country, according to internet shutdown watchdog NetBlocks.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ordered an investigation into Amini’s death and expressed his condolences to Amini’s family in a phone call, according to his official website.

“Your daughter is like my daughter, and I think this incident happened to one of my family,” said Raisi. “Please accept my condolences.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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