Protests by women, school girls and university students are gaining in momentum in Iran. The uprisings began following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on the 16th of September at the hands of Iran's morality police. She became an instant martyr after she took off her headscarf and showed her hair in public. Her death ignited a whole series of demonstrations throughout Iran. Hundreds of thousands of women have replicated Ms Amini's actions to openly send a message to Iran's leaders. They took off their headscarves en masse in the streets, on buses and in schools. Many burnt their hair coverings and cut their hair in public. They have marched in the streets chanting their rallying cry of "women, life, freedom".
The latest uprising in Iran is the result of decades of pent-up fury at Iran's regime. Women are tired of being forced to cover their hair. It became obligatory in April 1983 for them to do so. Punishments for violating this law range from financial penalties to imprisonment. The death of 16-year-old Nika Shakarami last week has further fuelled the intensity of the protests. Hundreds more have died in the past month at the hands of the authorities. An Iranian professor said hair coverings were the tip of the iceberg. She said: "There's a lot of compulsion in Iranian culture, and so the demand is freedom. The current protests… are engaging students… who are ready to live life freely. They're done with death and grief and mourning."