An MEP representing Sweden cut her hair while addressing the European Union parliament.
Abir al-Sahlani was voicing her contempt for the actions of the government of Iran, where major protests are being held after a 22-year-old woman died in police custody for allegedly violating head-covering and clothing laws. Civil unrest has been reported in more than 20 cities, including Tehran.
“Neither history nor Allah nor God Almighty will forgive you for the crimes against humanity you are committing – against your own citizens,” said al-Sahlani in her speech.
She declared the citizens of the EU demanded the “unconditional” stop of violence against men and women in Iran.
“Until Iran is free, our fury will be bigger than the oppressors,” Al-Sahlani added. “Until the women of Iran are free, we are going to stand with you.”
The 22-year-old woman, Masha Amini, was visiting Tehran with her family when morality police accused her of failing to properly cover her hair with a hijab and of not wearing loose clothing as required by law. She was taken to a detention center to be “educated” in August. Iranian law enforcement has denied allegations of mistreatment and instead said Amini’s Sept. 16 death was caused by sudden heart failure.
In an interview with ANI News, al-Sahlani said she wants Sweden and the EU to be direct in their support of protestors in Iran and felt personally moved to demonstrate her dedication to the movement.
“I wanted to show the women of Iran that they have been heard and that they have a voice in the European Parliament,” she said. “I wanted to make a physical manifestation [by cutting off my hair], not just a speech, to underline the anger I feel.”
The Iraqi-born MEP also called EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell a “spineless coward” who has “refrained from supporting the protesters in Iran.”
Iran is currently experiencing its third week of protests.
According to the BBC, protestors have chanted, “No to the headscarf, no to the turban, yes to freedom and equality!”
Women have been removing and burning their headscarves.
As protests continue across Iran and the number of deaths rising, the #Iranian authorities have shut down Instagram. The most popular social media platform there. This video is from the southern island of Qeshm. #MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/2wpsCd1MNv
— Rana Rahimpour (@ranarahimpour) September 21, 2022
“Rights groups say at least 130 people have died, as security forces including police and the volunteer Basij militia crack down on the protests,” reports The Evening Standard.
Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said during a commencement address in Tehran on Oct. 3 that the United States and Israel were to blame for the weeks of civil unrest.
“I say explicitly that these riots and this insecurity were a design by the U.S. and the occupying, fake Zionist regime [Israel] and those who are paid by them, and some traitorous Iranians abroad helped them,” said Khamenei, per UPI. “In the accident that happened, a young woman passed away, which also pained us, but reactions to her death before investigations [take place] … when some come to make the streets insecure, burn Qurans, take hijabs off covered women, and burn mosques and people’s cars — they’re not a normal, natural reaction.”
On Sept. 20, acting UN human rights chief Nada al-Nashif called for an independent and impartial investigation into Amini’s death.