Dubai: Protests broke out in western Iran on Saturday at the funeral of a young woman who died after being detained by morality police enforcing strict hijab rules, as security forces used tear gas to disperse demonstrators.
Videos posted on social media showed protesters shouting anti-government slogans after gathering in Saqez, hometown of Mahsa Amini, from nearby cities in Iran's Kurdistan province as they mourned the 22-year-old who died in a hospital in the capital Tehran on Friday.
"Death to the dictator" - a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, chanted some protesters, while police fired tear gas.
At least one man was shown with an injury to the head on a video where someone could be heard saying that it was caused by birdshot.
Reuters could not authenticate the videos.
In the past few months, rights activists have urged women to publicly remove their veils, a gesture that would risk their arrest for defying the Islamic dress code as the country's hardline rulers crack down on "immoral behaviour".
Videos posted on social media have shown cases of what appeared to be heavy-handed action by morality police units against women who had removed their hijab.
Protests spread later on Saturday to the provincial capital, Sanandaj, with social media videos showing crowds chanting "Saqez is not alone, it's supported by Sanandaj".
Marchers were seen confronting riot police amid the sound of sporadic gunfire.
Authorities have launched probes into the death of Amini, but a medical examiner said on Saturday results of forensic tests may take three weeks, state media reported.
Police said Amini was taken ill as she waited together with other detained women at a morality police station, rejecting allegations on social media that she was likely beaten.
Police released closed-circuit television footage apparently supporting their version of events. Reuters could not authenticate the video, which appeared to have been edited.