Tehran [Iran], September 24 (ANI): Over 700 people have been arrested in one province of Iran since the protest erupted after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after her arrest for allegedly failing to comply with Iran's strict rules on women's dress by wearing an "improper hijab".
According to Tasnim News Agency, Iranian police in just one province have arrested over 700 people since protests began over a week ago. The Police chief of Guilan province, General Azizollah Maleki announced "the arrest of 739 rioters including 60 women," the Iranian media outlet said.
While, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called "to deal decisively" with the disruptors of the security and peace of the country," a statement released by his office said.
In a phone call with the family of a Basij militiaman allegedly killed by demonstrators in Iran's second-largest city Mashhad, Raisi stressed "the need to distinguish between protest and disruption of public order and security," while denouncing the current unrest as "rioting and evil."
Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in protest since the death last week of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was apprehended in Tehran and taken to a "re-education center", apparently for not wearing her hijab properly.
Since Friday, demonstrations have taken place in at least 40 cities nationwide, including the capital Tehran, with protesters demanding an end to violence and discrimination against women as well as an end to compulsory wearing of the hijab.
Dozens of protesters have reportedly been killed in the resulting clashes with security forces. Earlier on Saturday, the official death toll in the clampdown by Iranian security forces was reported to have more than doubled from 17 to 35.
However, according to the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights, at least 50 people have been killed by security forces in the anti-government protests. Security forces have carried out a wave of arrests of activists and journalists, including Niloufar Hamedi of the reformist newspaper Shargh, who reported on Amini's death, The Times of Israel reported.
The ongoing protests intensified on Wednesday, demonstrators hurled stones over security forces. The protestors burned vehicles and chanted anti-government slogans as the oppression against strict dress codes for women continued in Iran.
Citing the Iranian state media, CBS reported that police used tear gas and arrests to disperse crowds of up to 1,000 people on Wednesday as street rallies spread to 15 cities.
Iran announced to restrict the Internet services across the country as authorities hope that by restricting the internet they can bring the protests under control.
As per Al Jazeera, Mahsa Amini, 22, was on a visit to Tehran with her family when she was detained by the specialist police unit. During detention after some time, she suffered a heart attack and was immediately taken to hospital with the cooperation of the emergency services.
"Unfortunately, she died and her body was transferred to the medical examiner's office," state television said on Friday, reported Al Jazeera. The announcement came a day after Tehran police confirmed Amini had been detained with other women for "instruction" about the rules.
Following the death of Mahsa Amini, several women protesters cut their hair and burnt hijabs to protest against the mandatory veiling of women.
The UN experts on Thursday strongly condemned the death of Mahsa Amini. They called on Iranian authorities to hold an independent, impartial, and prompt investigation into Amini's death, saying that the use of physical violence against women and the denial of fundamental human dignity when enforcing compulsory hijab policies ordained by state authorities is shameful.
Amini fell into a coma at the detention centre and died in hospital on September 16. Iranian authorities said she died of a heart attack, and claimed her death was from natural causes. However, some reports suggested that Amini's death resulted from alleged torture and ill-treatment, the experts said.
Amini's death comes amid growing controversy both inside and outside Iran over the conduct of the morality police, known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad (Guidance Patrol). The mandatory dress code, which applies to all nationalities and religions, not just Iranian Muslims, requires women to conceal their hair and neck with a headscarf, reported Al Jazeera.
Her death has now become a symbol of the violent oppression women have faced in Iran for decades. Over the decades, women have increasingly pushed back, particularly in the big cities, wearing their headscarves far back on their heads to reveal their hair. (ANI)