CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 100 people gathered at Federal Plaza downtown Wednesday night to protest the killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Iran last week.
Amini died after being arrested by the country’s morality police for wearing her hijab incorrectly. Iranian officials said she died of a heart attack, but her family said she was beaten to death in custody.
Activists said the woman, whose Kurdish first name is Jhina, had suffered a deadly blow to the head.
Center for Human Rights in Iran
Amini’s death has sparked deadly protests in the Iranian capital of Tehran, and also now major U.S. cities – including Los Angeles, Dallas, New York City, and Chicago.
“We’re trying to, you know, get the message out there and tell the people what’s going on in Iran,” an organizer said. “Please be aware of, you know, Mahsa Amini. Know her name. Know her story.”
One woman at demonstration in the Loop Wednesday night cut her hair off. She joins hundreds of other women who have filmed themselves cutting their hair in a now-viral video to honor Amini.
Woman cuts her hair off like thousands of others have in the past week to show solidarity for Mahsa @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/fKhuo5o4gt
— Asal Rezaei (@asalrezaeitv) September 21, 2022
Iranian state media reported on Wednesday that, in a fifth night of street rallies that had spread to 15 cities in that country, police used tear gas and made arrests to disperse crowds of up to 1,000 people.
London-based rights group Article 19 said it was “deeply concerned by reports of the unlawful use of force by Iranian police and security forces” including the use of live ammunition.
Demonstrators hurled stones at security forces, set fire to police vehicles and garbage bins and chanted anti-government slogans, the official IRNA news agency said, adding that rallies were held in cities including Mashhad, Tabriz, Isfahan and Shiraz.
“Death to the dictator” and “Woman, life, freedom,” protesters could be heard shouting in video footage that spread beyond Iran, despite online restrictions reported by internet access monitor Netblocks.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke publicly on Wednesday, but without mentioning the spreading unrest.