Mahsa Amini: UWM students unite after Iranian woman's death

Protests in Iran have reached new levels after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. At least 35 people are dead.

Amini was arrested Sept. 16 by Iran's "Morality Police" for not wearing her hijab properly in public. She reportedly went into a coma hours after her arrest. Police say she died of heart failure, but her family and others say she died after being beaten by police.

In defiance, women round the country are removing their hijab and burning them. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students joined the fight for freedom from 6,000 miles away.

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Students who spoke to FOX6 News said it hits close to home because some are close in age to Amini. They said it's their responsibility to be the voice in Milwaukee and make sure the 22-year-old is never forgotten.

"We are here to say women's rights is humans' rights. We are here to show our support to all the Iranians back home who are fighting in the streets," said Anahita Qashqai.

Candlelight vigil in Milwaukee for Mahsa Amini

UWM students continue sharing Amini's story – one they say is hard to hear.

"We can’t be in Iran with people who we love and who are doing this everyday to protest, so this is the least that we can do," Pardis Taheri said.

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Now, the focus is on change. Qashqai grew up in Iran.

"Women are going to continue resistance and not wear hijab no matter the cost," Qashqai. "You could not choose what to wear, you had all these conflicts with police, where to go, what to wear."

Candlelight vigil in Milwaukee for Mahsa Amini

Qashqai said her fight for women's rights will never stop in her home country.

"Hopefully I can go back home," she said. It's unclear when that will be. "When women are free, and they can choose how they want to live and what they want to wear."

Iran's government shut down the internet in the country, so students at UWM said the power of social media is more important than ever. They are using #MahsaAmini.