RIOTS have swept across Iran over the savage death of a woman who was battered to death by cops for not following the country’s strict hijab rules.
Mahsa Amini, 22, was declared brain dead after she was arrested and reportedly beaten into a coma for not covering her hair with a hijab.
For a third day, hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in Tehran and the Kurdistan province where Mahsa lived, demanding justice over her death.
Protests erupted after she was buried in her home city of Saqez in western Iran on Saturday.
Cops opened fire on demonstrators in Sanandaj, capital of Kurdistan province, and used water cannons to try to disperse growing crowds elsewhere.
Footage showed brave women ripping off their headscarves in the streets and chanting “death to the Islamic republic!”
Other women have defiantly filmed themselves chopping off their hair and setting fire to their headscarves.
Dozens have been arrested after protesters smashed car windows and torched bins as tensions explode with the police.
Mahsa had travelled from the western province of Kurdistan to see relatives in the capital Tehran.
According to the Iranian police, she was not following the strict dress code, which legally requires women in Iran to wear a hijab, and she detained by the “morality police”.
She died in hospital hours after her arrest after she was reportedly beaten to death.
According to leaked scans, Mahsa reportedly suffered a fractured skull and internal bleeding.
The White House has described Mahsa’s death as an “appalling and egregious affront to human rights”.
“Mahsa Amini’s death after injuries sustained while in police custody for wearing an ‘improper’ hijab is an appalling and egregious affront to human rights,” a spokesperson said.
“Women in Iran should have the right to wear what they want, free from violence or harassment.
“Iran must end its use of violence against women for exercising their fundamental freedoms. There must be accountability for Mahsa’s death.”
Mahsa’s brother, Kiarash, told Iran Wire he was with his sister when she was arrested.
He said a police van blocked their path before officers grabbed Mahsa and forced her inside.
Kiarash said officers told him his sister would be released an hour later after a “re-education class” – but when he got to the building, he said he heard screaming.
He said other women were fleeing the building.
“Every one of them said somebody inside had been killed,” he said.
“I showed Mahsa’s picture to the women. One of them said Mahsa was next to her when it happened.
“I was shocked, and terrified. I asked one of the soldiers what had happened. He said ‘one of our own soldiers has been injured.’
“He was lying. I didn’t believe him. It was Mahsa in that ambulance. I ran until I reached Kasra Hospital.”
Cops have insisted there was “no physical contact” between officers and Mahsa – and claimed she died of a heart attack.
Tehran police chief General Hossein Rahimi said the woman had violated the dress code, and his colleagues had asked her relatives to bring her “decent clothes”.
He rejected “unjust accusations against the police” and said “the evidence shows that there was no negligence or inappropriate behaviour on the part of the police”.
“This is an unfortunate incident and we wish never to see such incidents again,” he said.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has ordered an investigation into the death and vowed to pursue the case in a call with the woman’s family.
The judiciary has launched a probe, and a parliamentary committee is also looking into the incident.
The hijab has been compulsory for women in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the “morality police” are in charge of enforcing the rules.
The force has been criticised in recent years over its treatment of people – especially young women.
Dozens of women removed their headscarves in protest in 2017.