At least 17 persons have died during the protests in Iran that started after the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who was taken into police custody for not following the country’s hijab regulations, CBS News reported citing Iranian state media.
Mahsa Amini was detained on Tuesday in the Iranian capital of Tehran by the police unit that enforces the Islamic republic’s obligatory dress codes, including the compulsory wearing of the headscarf in public. Officials say that she suffered a heart attack while in custody, however, critics believe she was physically assaulted while under detention.
After Amini’s death, protests erupted in Tehran and other parts of the country on September 17. Videos posted on social media showed women removing their veils to protest Amini’s death and the government’s ultraconservative dress codes.
As the protests continued on the sixth day, Oslo-based NGO, Iran Human Rights said that the government is responding to peaceful protests with bullets, reported AFP. It also put the toll at 31.
Iran’s Kurdish-populated north-west, where Amini lived, has also reported some of the most violent crackdowns on the protestors. The Kurdish human rights group, Hengaw, reported that eight protesters were killed by security forces on Wednesday including two teenagers, aged 15 and 16 in the cities of Urmia, Shno, West Islamabad, and Ivangharb.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned protesters on Thursday against creating chaos in the country, reported Reuters.
“There is freedom of expression in Iran… but acts of chaos are unacceptable,” said Raisi. “If there is a party at fault, it certainly must be investigated. I contacted the family of the deceased at the very first opportunity and I assured them personally that we will continue steadfastly to investigate the incident.”