Demonstrations were held in the capital Tehran, including several of its universities

New Iran protests woman’s death after arrest by ‘vice police’

Demonstrations took place in the capital Tehran, including at several of its universities – Copyright UGC/AFP –

More protests erupted in Iran on Monday over the death of a young woman arrested by “vice police” who enforce a strict dress code, local media reported.

Public anger escalated after authorities announced on Friday that 22-year-old Mahsa Amini had died in hospital after three days in a coma after she was arrested by Tehran’s vice police during a September 13 visit to the capital.

Demonstrations took place in Tehran, including at several universities, as well as in the second city of Mashhad, the Fars and Tasnim news agencies reported.

According to the ISNA news agency, protesters marched down Hijab Street – or “scarf street” – in downtown Tehran, denouncing the vice police.

“Several hundred people chanted slogans against the authorities, some of them took off their headscarves,” Fars said, adding that “the police arrested several people and dispersed the crowd with batons and tear gas.”

In a short video released by Fars, a crowd of several dozen people, including women who have removed their headscarves, can be seen shouting “Death to the Islamic Republic!”

Tasnim reported that a “similar gathering” took place in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

On Sunday, police made arrests and fired tear gas in the woman’s home province of Kurdistan, where the dead woman lives, where about 500 people protested, some of whom smashed car windows and set trash cans on fire, reports said.

– Anger –

The vice squad enforces a dress code in the Islamic Republic that requires women to wear headscarves in public places.

It also bans tight pants, ripped jeans, knee-baring clothing, and flashy clothing.

Police insist there was no “physical contact” between the officers and the victim.

Tehran’s police chief, General Hossein Rahimi, said on Monday that the woman had violated the dress code and that his colleagues asked her relatives to bring her “decent clothes.”

He again denied “unfair allegations against the police” and said that “the evidence shows that there was no negligence or misconduct on the part of the police.”

“This is an unfortunate incident and we wish never to see such incidents again.”

According to Fars and Tasnim news agencies, students held a rally at the universities of Tehran and Shahid Beheshti, demanding “an explanation” about how Amini died.

A spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Amini’s “unacceptable” death was a “murder” following injuries sustained while she was in police custody.

The perpetrators must be held accountable and the Iranian authorities must respect the rights of their citizens, the spokesman added in a statement.

France called her death “deeply shocking” and called for “a transparent investigation … to shed light on the circumstances of this tragedy.”

Amini’s death sparked renewed calls to rein in the vice police against women suspected of violating the dress code operating after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Filmmakers, artists, athletes, political and religious figures have taken to social media to express their anger.

President Ebrahim Raisi, the ultra-conservative former head of the judiciary who came to power last year, ordered an investigation into Amini’s death.

– Distraught Father –

State television on Friday aired a short surveillance video showing a woman, identified as Amini, passing out at a police station after an argument with a female police officer.

Amjad Amini, the victim’s father, told Fars that he “did not accept what (the police) showed him”, claiming that “the tape was cut”.

He also criticized the “slow response” of the emergency services, adding, “I believe Mahsa was brought to the hospital late.”

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Saturday that he had received reports that emergency services were “immediately” on the scene.

“Mahsa appears to have had physical issues in the past and we have reports that she underwent brain surgery at the age of five,” Vahidi said.

Her father, however, “insists that his daughter was not ill and was in perfect health,” Fars said.

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