Tehran: In Iran, anti-hijab protests have reached 80 other cities and towns, besides the capital Tehran following the custodial death of a 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini after being detained by the morality police. 

Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman from the north-western city of Saqez, died in hospital in Tehran on Friday following three days in a coma. A human rights group said at least 31 civilians had been killed, while state television put the death toll at 17.

Mahsa Amini was visiting the capital on 13 September when she was arrested by morality police officers, who accused her of violating the law requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf.

The Kurdish human rights group Hengaw reported that eight protesters were killed by security forces on

Wednesday, bringing the overall toll there to 15. Another organisation, Iran Human Rights, reported that at least 31 civilians had been killed over the first six days of unrest, including nine in the north-west and 17 in Mazandaran province, which is on the Caspian Sea north of Tehran.

Iranian officials have denied that security forces have killed any protesters and instead blamed "rioters".

State television reported that 17 people, including demonstrators and security personnel, had been killed, without providing further details. 

Internet-monitoring group NetBlocks meanwhile reported that Iran was now subject to the most severe internet restrictions seen since mass anti-government erupted in November 2019.

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