DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iranians took to the streets of the capital on Monday to protest the death of a young woman detained for violating the country’s conservative dress code.
The semi-official Fars news agency said students from many universities in Tehran had gathered to protest, demanding an investigation into Massa Amini’s death and the dismantling of the ethics police who held her at the time of her death.
Witnesses said demonstrators poured into Keshavarz Avenue, the central avenue, chanting “death to the dictator”. They also chanted against police and damaged a police car. The witness did not want to be named for security reasons.
Late Monday, Associated Press reporters saw burning trash cans and rocks scattered at some downtown intersections, and the smell of tear gas filled the air. Police closed the road to the central Vali-e Asr square. Plainclothes security forces and riot police groups were seen across the region, and mobile internet services were disrupted in central Tehran.
Dozens of protesters on motorcycles briefly appeared at several intersections, overturning trash cans and chanting against the authorities, before speeding away.
Demonstrations continue in other cities
Meanwhile, videos circulating on social media showed a third day of demonstrations at a university in the Kurdish city of western Iran, the northern city of Rasht and the central city of Isfahan. The Associated Press could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
Last Tuesday, ethics police detained Amini, 22, for not wearing the Islamic hijab, known as the hijab, which is mandatory for women in Iran.
Police say she died of a heart attack and deny she was abused. They released closed-circuit video footage last week that allegedly showed the moment she fell. Her family said she had no history of heart disease.
Amini, a Kurd, was buried in his hometown of Sakiz in western Iran on Saturday. Protests erupted there after her funeral, with police firing tear gas to disperse demonstrators on Saturday and Sunday. Several protesters were arrested.
Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi, who traveled to New York on Monday to attend the United Nations General Assembly, has ordered an investigation and vowed to pursue the case in a phone call with Amini’s family. The judiciary has launched an investigation and a parliamentary committee is also looking into the incident.
Iranian women have been required to wear the hijab since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and the ethics police are responsible for enforcing the hijab and other restrictions. The force has been criticized in recent years, especially for its treatment of young women.
In 2017, dozens of women took off their headscarves in protest. Iranians have also taken to the streets in recent years in response to an economic crisis exacerbated by Western sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program.