Actors Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, Isabelle Huppert and around 50 other French artists cut their hair in support of Iranian women who took part in mass protests after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for not wear hijab
Posted on Wednesday on the Instagram account @soutienfemmesiran, which translates as “supporting Iranian women”, the symbolic slicing of the locks was inspired by viral social media images of Iranian women cutting their hijabs or hair in protests after Amini’s death in custody.
“Since Mahsa’s death on September 16, the Iranian people, led by women, have been protesting at the risk of their lives,” reads the translated caption, per Deadline. “These people only hope to access the most essential freedoms. These women, these men, are asking us for support.”
“We decided to answer the call that was made to us by cutting off some of these locks,” the caption adds.
The video is set to Iranian singer Gandom’s cover of the Italian anti-fascist song “Bella Ciao,” which also went viral last week. It shows actors such as Charlotte Gainsbourg, Isabelle Adjani and Bérénice Bejo taking part in the protest event while title cards urge viewers to support the women of Iran.
“Their courage and dignity compel us,” the caption reads. “It is impossible not to denounce this terrible repression again and again. There have been dozens of deaths, including children. The detentions are adding to the number of prisoners already illegally detained and all too often tortured.”
Amini was arrested on September 13 by the morality police, a state apparatus that enforces the Islamic Republic’s religious laws, for not wearing the hijab properly. Police sent her to a “re-education center,” where authorities say she died of a heart attack.
Witnesses who were held in the same facility as Amini said she was aggressively beaten in prison. On September 20, the UN human rights office called for an investigation into the matter and demanded that Iran end its “systemic persecution” of women.
The non-profit organization Iran Human Rights, which has monitored the protests since they erupted in Tehran, estimates that at least 154 people had died during the demonstrations through Tuesday. At least 63 of these citizens were killed in Zahedan in one day, according to the organization.
“This time the protesters are not only demanding justice for Mahsa Amini,” Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, told CNN. “They also demand women’s rights, their civil and human rights, for a life without religious dictatorship.”