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Video shows Iranian authorities assaulting girl who removes hijab in front of them

At least 41 dead and hundreds arrested after 10 nights of protests following death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini; judiciary chief demands action ‘without leniency’ against dissenters

Syrian Kurdish women take part in a demonstration in Syria's northeastern city of Hasakeh on September 25, 2022, to express their support for 22-year-old Mahsa Amini (portrait), who died while in the custody of Iranian authorities. (Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP)
Syrian Kurdish women take part in a demonstration in Syria's northeastern city of Hasakeh on September 25, 2022, to express their support for 22-year-old Mahsa Amini (portrait), who died while in the custody of Iranian authorities. (Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP)

Footage posted on Monday by an Iranian opposition news outlet shows a girl being brutally beaten by security forces after removing her hijab, as demonstrations raged for the 10th night following the death of the young Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police.

The video, uploaded by the London-based Iran International, shows the girl removing her headscarf and opening her arms to the authorities, who quickly advance on her and begin beating her.

At least 41 people have died so far since the outbreak of unrest, mostly protesters but including members of Iran’s security forces, according to an official toll, although Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights has put the death toll at 57, excluding security personnel.

Officials said Monday that 1,200 protesters have been arrested amid the mostly night-time demonstrations that have spread to scores of cities since unrest first broke out after Amini’s death on September 16.

Security forces have fired live rounds and birdshot, rights groups charge, while protesters have hurled rocks, torched police cars, set ablaze state buildings and shouted “Death to the dictator.”

Iran’s largest protests in years have been led by women and triggered not by classic political or economic grievances but by anger over the Islamic Republic’s strictly enforced gender-based dress code and general resentment against the conservative regime.

Amini, whose Kurdish first name was Jhina, was arrested on September 13 for allegedly breaching the rules that mandate tightly-fitted hijab head coverings and which ban, among other things, ripped jeans and brightly colored clothes. She had been wearing a hijab but was allegedly not wearing it properly, meaning some of her hair may have been exposed.

Iranian authorities have yet to state the cause of death of Amini, who activists say died as a result of a blow to the head.

Some Iranian women protesters have since taken off and burned their hijabs in the rallies and cut off their hair, some dancing near large bonfires to the applause of crowds that have chanted “zan, zendegi, azadi” or “woman, life, freedom.”

Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, Iran’s judiciary chief urged action ‘without leniency’ against protesters, echoing earlier comments by ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raisi, who vowed to crack down on the dissent.

Iran — which is ruled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 83, and which has been hit with tough economic sanctions over its nuclear program — has blamed “foreign plots” for the unrest.

The main reformist group inside Iran, the Union of Islamic Iran People’s Party, has called for repealing the mandatory dress code and winding down the morality police.

The party — led by former aides to ex-Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, who oversaw a 1997-2005 thaw with the West — also called on the government to “authorize peaceful demonstrations” and release those arrested.

Protests abroad have been held in solidarity with Iranian women in Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul, Madrid, New York, Paris, Santiago, Stockholm, The Hague, Toronto and Washington, among other cities. Meanwhile, Iran has organized large rallies in Tehran in order to display support for the dress code and the country’s conservative values.

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