Yasi, a 20-year-old from Tehran, is the first woman in her immediate family to reject wearing the hijab. When the protests broke out after Amini’s death, Yasi ran into the streets of Tehran to join them.
“I keep thinking Mahsa could be me; it could be my friends, my cousins,” she says. “You don’t know what they will do to you.”
In several of the protest videos flying across social media, women rip off their head scarves and burn them in street bonfires. In one, young women danced bareheaded in front of the riot police.
The backlash to Amini’s death has been so strong that religiously conservative Iranians have spoken up alongside liberal ones. Yasi’s mother, Minoo, seeing her daughter in Amini, signed an online petition by religious women calling for the abolition of the morality police and the repeal of the hijab mandate. Minoo says she wears the head scarf willingly, but the choice should be hers, not the government’s.
“We can’t impose what we think on one another,” she says. “I’m religious, but I’m fed up with the hypocrisy and lies of this regime treating us ordinary people like dirt.”
On several nights, Minoo has driven her daughter and her daughter’s friends to various protests around Tehran.