Hijab controversies continue in Iran one year after protests began

Saturday marks one year since the death of a woman in police custody sparked months of protests in Iran.

Demonstrations began soon after Mahsa Amini died on September 16 last year. The 22-year-old woman was arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab headscarf improperly.

The Iranian government said she died of an illness, but protests spread across the country as many Iranians believed she had been beaten by police. Clashes broke out between security forces and demonstrators.

Norway-based Iran Human Rights says more than 530 protesters were killed.

Demonstrations have now subsided, but there have been several cases in which authorities have ordered cafes and businesses to suspend operations for failing to ensure customers and employees wear hijabs.

The Iranian government has submitted a bill to parliament to strengthen penalties for those who do not wear hijabs, aiming to satisfy conservatives in the country. Deliberations are underway.

Citizens opposing the move say that if the law comes into effect, it will cause conflict. They say they hope the freedom and opinions of the people will be respected.