Iranian women cut off their hair and set fire to their hijabs in a symbolic gesture of protest.
Protests have broken out in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, in which Iranian women are publicly removing their hijabs and burning them. Ms Amini was arrested by Iran's "Morality Police" for "improperly" donning the hijab because she had not completely covered her hair. According to a Reuters report, she died on Friday after falling into a coma following her arrest in Tehran earlier in the week, putting a spotlight on women's rights in Iran. Police rejected social media suspicions that she was beaten, saying she fell ill as she waited with other detained women.
But on social media, a number of videos from the protests that show demonstrators shouting anti-government slogans have gone viral. In some videos, Iranian forces are seen using tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.
In a symbolic act of opposition to the severe Iranian rule requiring women over the age of seven to wear religious headscarves, some female protesters chopped off their hair and burned their hijabs.
Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad tweeted a video and said, "Iranian women show their anger by cutting their hair and burning their hijab to protest against the killing of #Mahsa_Amini by hijab police. From the age of 7 if we don't cover our hair we won't be able to go to school or get a job. We are fed up with this gender apartheid regime."
Masih Alinejad stated in another tweet, "This is the real Iran, Security forces in Iran's Saqqez opened fire at peaceful protesters following the burial of #Mahsa_Amini. Several protesters have been injured. First Hijab police killed a 22 Yr old girl and now using guns and tear gas against grieving people."
Social media users have been sharing videos of women who had removed their hijabs receiving what appeared to be harsh punishment from morality police units.
Under Iran's sharia or Islamic law, women are obliged to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes. Offenders face public rebuke, fines or arrest. But in recent months activists have urged women to remove veils despite the hardline rulers' crackdown on "immoral behaviour".