Iranian media have announced the start of a general strike in several cities to protest against the brutal murder of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini. Amini was arrested by the Morality Police for not wearing the veil, a compulsory garment for all women in Iran. After several hours of detention and exposure to a "re-education session", Amini was taken to hospital, where she arrived without vital signs. The young woman, a native of Iranian Kurdistan, suffered a heart attack as a result of the beatings and torture she endured at the police station.
Mahsa Amini, 22, who was tortured and fell into a coma while being detained by the moral police in Iran because a hairline was visible under her hijab, passed away.— Shadlin (@NzShadlin) September 19, 2022
As women, we will increase our solidarity against all forms of violence.#مهسا_امینی #MahsaAmini#Mahsa_Amini pic.twitter.com/XNiS5wN5TM
This murder has deeply shocked Iranian society, especially women, who suffer severe oppression by the regime in Tehran. After several days of protests in different parts of the country, some localities have started a general strike, reports Iran International.
So far, videos of strikes have been released in Sanandaj, Saqqaz, Baneh and Mariwan, cities in Iranian Kurdistan. Although strikes have also been reported in West Azerbaijan province, such as Urmia, Bukan and Piranshahr. Iran International adds that traders in Yavanrud and Kermanshah, in the west of the country, also joined the strike.
Iranian women show their anger by cutting their hair and burning their hijab to protest against the killing of #Mahsa_Amini by hijab police.— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 18, 2022
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 pic.twitter.com/nqNSYL8dUb
In recent days, the Iranian authorities have threatened trade unions and businesses not to participate in the strike in protest at Amini's death. However, the Centre for Cooperation of the Parties of Iranian Kurdistan, as well as other parties and activists in the region, announced a one-day general strike. Demonstrations are also planned in central Tehran and at the Sharif University of Technology.
Bugün 18 Eylül 2022, Tahran Üniversitesi öğrencileri Mahsa Amini cinayetini protesto etmek için üniversitede toplandı. Tahran Üniversitesi'nde yıllarca süren baskı ve şiddetin ardından bu gösteri son yıllarda görülmemiş bir olay oldu. pic.twitter.com/2HZjasMvYM— Maziar Bahari (@maziarbahari) September 18, 2022
"Women, life and freedom" and "Death to the dictator!" are the slogans leading protests over Amini's death in various parts of Iran, which has tightened dress codes for women since the takeover of the current president, the cleric Ebrahim Raisi.
Women of Iran-Saghez removed their headscarves in protest against the murder of Mahsa Amini 22 Yr old woman by hijab police and chanting:— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 17, 2022
death to dictator!
Removing hijab is a punishable crime in Iran. We call on women and men around the world to show solidarity. #مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/ActEYqOr1Q
In fact, the authorities have recently considered using easy recognition to identify those who do not comply with the new Islamic headscarf regulations announced last August. This hijab and chastity law prohibits, for example, the publication of photos of unveiled women on the internet. As a result of this new strict regulation, the Moral Police have become more influential and increasingly violent.
This is the real Iran, Security forces in Iran’s Saqqez opened fire at peaceful protesters following the burial of #Mahsa_Amini.— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 17, 2022
Several protesters have been injured.
First Hijab police killed a 22 Yr old girl and now using guns and tear gas against grieving people.#مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/IgUdFEnJCS
What happened to Amini is not unusual. Iranian activists frequently show videos of women being arrested and forced into police vans, as happened to Sepideh Rashno, 28, last August. After being harassed on a bus for wearing "inappropriate clothing", Rashno was arrested and tortured by security forces. Rashno managed to withstand the beatings, but her punishment did not end there. After the "re-education session" the young Iranian woman was forced to confess her "crime" on state television.
See her face in 2 different photos. Her name is #SepidehRashno. She bravely said #No2Hijab in this viral video. Now she got tortured and beaten up by security forces to appear on Iranian state TV to denounce herself.— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) August 5, 2022
I call on International media & organizations to be her voice. https://t.co/g7kLBTuKlA pic.twitter.com/fTGt4MPpDd
Iranian women, both at home and abroad, are calling for more visibility and support against what they see as a "gender apartheid regime", as activist Masih Alinejad points out on Twitter. In this sense, social media has become an important platform for hundreds of women to show their rejection of the Iranian government's misogynistic policies. Cutting their hair or burning the Islamic veil are some of the acts that women record and publish in protest at the brutal crime.