Mahsa Amini’s death triggered the protest cutting hair

Created by: Affinity May and Megan Milne

The death of a 22-year-old woman being detained by Iran’s ‘morality police’ has inspired women worldwide to cut their hair in protest for Mahsa Amini. 

An undated picture obtained from social media shows Mahsa Amini (photo credit: Iranwire/via Reuters)

The ‘morality police’ said Mahsa was wearing her hijab too loosely, in Iran, women are required to wear a hijab that covers their hair completely.

According to the ‘morality police’, Mahsa died from a heart attack while in their custody. 

However, there have been allegations, from an independent expert affiliated with the United Nations (UN), that police beat Masha in a patrol car on the way to the detention centre; she later died after spending three days in a coma on the 16th of September. 

The postmortem reported Mahsa died due to a skull fracture from heavy blows to the head.  

A few days after her death, there was an internet blackout which had a massive impact for students as well as the Iranians, who were already blocked from Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. 

This caused protests worldwide in places such as Toronto Vancouver and Ottawa, where several thousand people attended to stand in solidarity for Mahsa Amini. 

After students protested, most universities except for medical training doctors have suspended all lectures. Security forces used tear gas, metal bullets, and live fire against anyone protesting. 

According to Reuters ‘over 150 dead in protests that have spread abroad’, on the 5th of October ‘Iranian security forces deployed at universities in several cities on Wednesday, witnesses said, stepping up efforts to quell more than two weeks of protest ignited by the death of Mahsa.’

This sparked women worldwide to cut their hair in protest of Mahsa Amini’s death to show solidarity. 

Nasibe Samsaei, an Iranian woman living in Turkey, cuts her hair during a protest following the death of Mahsa Amini, photo sourced from Sky News. 

A Swedish politician cut her hair during a European Parliament debate, she said “Until the women of Iran are free, we are going to stand with you.” while cutting her hair she said, “women, life, freedom”.  

The journalist, Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe, who recently was released after spending six years imprisoned in Iran, cuts her hair in support of Mahsa. 

After talking to my local Iranian community, lots of women have been cutting a piece of hair and sending it to the United Nations in an effort to bring the issue of abuse and repression of women in Iran to the UN’s attention.

United Nations said, “We strongly condemn the use of physical violence against women and the denial of fundamental human dignity when enforcing compulsory hijab policies ordained by State authorities.” The expert said, “We call on the Iranian authorities to hold an independent, impartial, and prompt investigation into Ms Amini’s death, make the findings of the investigation public and hold all perpetrators accountable.”

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