A number of citizens took to the streets of Berlin in a demonstration to protest the death of a young woman in Iran. The Iranian young woman, Mahsa Amini, was arrested by the morality police and died shortly afterwards while in police custody. Dozens of people demonstrated on Saturday (17 September 2022) in front of the Iranian embassy in Berlin, and protests were announced in Stuttgart, Munich and Cologne for the same reason.
A spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Berlin said the protesters also wanted to draw attention to the brutal persecution of women in Iran. The spokesman called on the Federal Government of Germany to condemn the death of the woman as a state crime. According to him, about 150 people participated in the Berlin demonstration, while the police spoke of 60 people.
Mahsa Amini, 22, was visiting Tehran with her family when she was stopped on Wednesday by the police unit tasked with enforcing strict dress codes for women, including the headscarf. State television announced her death on Friday after spending three days in a coma. According to the police, she fainted due to heart failure, and then fell into a coma. However, there is another version of the death of the young woman, circulating on Internet platforms, which says that she was arrested because her veil did not fit properly, and some tufts of hair appeared from under it. The novel adds that after the arrest, the young woman was hit on the head, which led to a brain hemorrhage, coma, and then a case of brain death on Tuesday, while the police strongly denied this.
Iranian young woman Mahsa Amini
On Saturday, security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the Kurdistan region, northwest of Iran, after the death of Mahsa Amini, local media reported. Some protesters chanted “Death to the dictator,” a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, while police fired tear gas. At least one man appeared with a head injury in a video where another person could be heard saying it was a birdshot wound. The videos could not be verified.
Protests later on Saturday spread to Sanandaj, the provincial capital, where videos on social media showed crowds chanting, “Saqqaz is not alone, Sanandaj supports it.” Protesters were seen facing riot police amid intermittent gunfire.
Fars news agency reported that her body was buried on Saturday morning in her hometown of Saghiz, 460 km from Tehran in the Kurdistan region. “After the funeral ceremony, some people left the scene of the accident, while others remained chanting slogans calling for detailed investigations into the dimensions of the accident,” the agency said. “The demonstrators then gathered in front of the governor’s office and chanted more slogans, but they dispersed when the security forces fired tear gas,” she added.
State television broadcast pictures on Friday that it said showed Mahsa Amini falling to the ground in a large hall full of women while arguing with an official about her dress. In a statement on Friday, Tehran police stressed that there was “no physical contact” between the officers and Amini. She added that Amini was among a number of women taken to a police station to be given “instructions” about the dress code on Tuesday. The statement stated that she “suddenly fainted while she was with others in the hall.”
Before the death was announced, the Iranian presidency indicated in a statement that President Ibrahim Raisi had instructed the Minister of Interior to investigate the matter. The head of Tehran’s forensic medicine office told state TV on Saturday that investigations into the cause of death would take up to three weeks to complete.
Mahsa Amini’s death comes amid a growing debate inside and outside Iran over the conduct of the morality police known as the “Guidance Patrol”. In July, a video of a woman standing in front of a morality police van, demanding the release of her daughter, went viral on social media. The veiled woman continued to hold the vehicle even after it set off, before she let go of it after increasing its speed.
After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the law required all women, regardless of nationality or religious belief, to wear a headscarf that covers the head and neck. But a number of women have abandoned their strict adherence to it over the past two decades and started revealing locks of their hair, especially in Tehran and major cities, to the annoyance of extremists from conservative politicians. The government in Tehran and hardliners in parliament have been trying for months to implement Islamic law more stringently.
ZAB/ShM (DPA, AFP, Reuters)
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