Protests erupt in Iran after Mahsa Amini died in police custody

Police said Amini died Friday after falling ill and slipping into a coma days earlier while waiting with other women detained by the vice squad, which enforces the Islamic republic’s strict rules requiring women to cover their hair and wear loose-fitting clothing. wear in public.

Authorities admitted making arrests in subsequent protests, but denied mistreating Amini and said they were investigating her death.

Rights activists have expressed concern about Amini’s death and the official response to the demonstrations. Her family has denied she had any previous health problems, according to Reuters.

“Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority, who, in particular, ensures that her family has access to justice and truth,” said acting UN High Commissioner for Human rights Nada Al-Nashif.

She also called on the Iranian authorities to “stop attacking, harassing and detaining women who do not follow the hijab rules.”

On Monday, State Secretary Antony Blinken called on the Iranian authorities to allow peaceful demonstrations.

“Mahsa Amini should be alive today. Instead, the United States and the Iranian people mourn her. We call on the Iranian government to end the systematic persecution of women and allow peaceful protest,” he said on Twitter.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian dismissed the criticism, accusing the US of “crocodile tears”.

Amini’s death and ongoing protests have sparked a deluge of social media posts protesting Iran’s hijab laws, with many women posting pictures of themselves without a veil online.

Women’s rights groups have been campaigning in recent months against the country’s strict laws, encouraging women not to wear the mandatory veil in public as a protest.

Protesters in Tehran appeared to burn hijabs in protests after Amini’s death.

Video circulating on social media and verified by NBC News appeared to show a woman climbing on the hood of a car as people heard “women, life, freedom” chanting before cheering as she held up what looked like a hijab that was on fire.

Other videos verified by NBC News appear to show protesters in Tehran’s Valiasr Square on Monday. One video shows protesters on the street, while the other shows police trying to disperse protesters with what appears to be water.