Hadis Najafi, the 20-year-old who became an online symbol of the protests following the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, has been reportedly killed by Iranian security forces.
Najafi was reportedly killed during demonstrations in the city of Karaj, near Tehran, Newsweek reported.
The blonde hair of the victim appeared uncovered in a clip that has since gone viral across social media platforms, showing her facing Iranian police without wearing a veil, which is forbidden by law in Iran.
Wearing the hijab in public has been compulsory for women in the country, despite one’s faith or nationality, and it has been this way since 1983.
But Najafi, like many other Iranian women over the past few days, was seen facing police officers with her hair uncovered. She was captured on camera, tying them up with a rubber band.
A typical gesture among millions of women is seen as a massive statement for women like Najafi, who was protesting against the law, which led to the death of 22-year-old Amini, a Kurdish woman who died of fatal injuries reportedly caused while in custody.
Amini had been detained by the Islamic Republic’s “morality police” for wearing her hijab “improperly.”
Amini’s death has resulted in widespread outrage from tens of thousands of people across Iran and protests in several cities over the past week, with demonstrators facing a violent response by police and authorities.
Women have been at the front lines of the demonstrations, with many burning their veils and cutting their hair.
President Ebrahim Raisi was quoted by state media on Saturday saying that the country must “deal decisively with those who oppose the country’s security and tranquillity.”
In many cities, including the capital, authorities have responded to protesters by opening fire against them.
According to Amnesty International, at least 21 people–three being children—had been killed by forces on the night of September 21. At least 41 people have died, according to a death toll given by Iran’s state television on Sunday. Among those that passed was Najafi.
Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad reported that Najafi was killed after being struck by six bullets in the city of Karaj, according to what Najafi’s sister told her.
“Hadis Najafi 21 Yr old girl, must become another symbol like #MahsaAmini, because she didn’t keep silent in the face of tyranny. She got killed for the crime of protesting the brutal death of Mahsa. I call on world to be the voice of #HadisNajafi too. A true hero,” Alinejad posted on Twitter.