Amid Massive anti-hijab protests in Iran, Indian filmmaker Leena Manimekalai on Friday shared a picture of chopped hair hoisted as a flag. The filmmaker, who herself has been embroiled in a controversy since the poster of her movie ‘Kaali’ was released in July, called the picture the “photograph of this century”.
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In an additional tweet, Manimekalai said her Iranian Classmate helped her with the “information on source of the artwork: Edith Dekyndt, Ombre Indigene Part 2, Ile de la Martinique”.
Hindustan Times could not independently verify the authenticity of the picture.
Iran has been rocked with protests since the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, last week. She was detained by the morality police – responsible for enforcing the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women – and died after spending three days in a coma at a hospital.
Activists said Amini suffered a blow to her head while in custody. However, Iranian authorities have yet to confirm the claim. An investigation into the matter has been opened.
Women Protesters took off their hijabs and burned them in bonfires, while some symbolically chopped off their hair before applauding crowds, video footage shared widely on social media was shown. Demonstrators also hurled stones at security forces, set police vehicles ablaze and chanted anti-government slogans, IRNA reported.
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In response, the country’s security forces have cracked down on the demonstrators by firing at crowds with birdshot and metal pellets and even deployed water cannons and tear gas, Amnesty International and other human rights groups said.
Internet access has also been restricted in what Iran’s web monitor NetBlocks has called a “curfew-style pattern of disruptions” amid the agitation.
President Ebrahim Raisi, at a news conference in New York where he attended the UN General Assembly, said, “We must differentiate between demonstrators and vandalism.”
Meanwhile, on Friday, thousands took to the streets at government-supported pro-hijab counter rallies in Iran’s capital Tehran and other cities, including Isfahan, Qom, Tabriz and Ahvaz.
According to an AFP report, state television broadcast footage of a pro-hijab demonstration showed people holding up banners marching along the streets of central Tehran, many of them men but also women dressed in black chadors.
(With inputs from agencies)