TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian police fired tear gas Saturday to break up a protest rally in the western country after a funeral ceremony for a young woman who died while in custody in Tehran earlier this week, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. mentioned.
Police said 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested on Tuesday after Iran’s so-called “morality police” found fault with her headscarf, or hijab, died of a heart attack. Police also released closed-circuit footage from the police station, which they say shows the moment Amini collapsed. A relative said she had no history of heart disease.
According to the 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, shouting slogans. The report did not provide further details.
After the police appeared and used tear gas, the protesters dispersed. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Videos posted on social media on Saturday purported to show protesters in Saqez shouting anti-government slogans, but The Associated Press could not confirm the authenticity of the videos or confirm the location in the video.
Amini’s death sparked an outcry against the ethics police from celebrities and prominent figures on social media. Iran’s judiciary has launched an investigation into her death.
The headscarf has been compulsory for women in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and members of the morality police enforce the strict dress code. The force has been criticized in recent years for its treatment of people, particularly young women, and videos posted on social media show officers forcing women into police vehicles.
Since 2017, after dozens of women publicly removed their headscarves in a wave of protests, the authorities adopted tougher measures.
However, the reformist political party Etemad Melli urged Iran’s parliament to cancel the mandatory hijab law and suggested President Ebrahim Raisi abolish the morality police.
Kasra Hospital in Tehran, where police took Amini after she collapsed and fell into a coma, said she was admitted without vital signs.
Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who rarely reacts publicly to events in Iran, expressed his sorrow and called Amini’s death in custody a “crime”.
Iranian hardliners have called for harsh punishments and even flogging of women who disobey the hijab law, arguing that allowing women to show their hair leads to moral decay and family breakdown. The judiciary in recent years has urged the public to inform women who do not wear the hijab.