Actors Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, Isabelle Huppert and around 50 other French artists cut their hair in support of Iranian women engaged in mass protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for not wearing her hijab.
Posted Wednesday on the Instagram account @soutienfemmesiran, which translates to “support Iranian women,” the symbolic slashing of locks was inspired by viral social media footage of Iranian women cutting their hijabs or hair in protest 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,” the translated caption reads, per Deadline. “These people only hope for access to the most essential freedoms. These women, these men, are asking for our support.”
“We decided to answer the call that was thrown at us by cutting 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 including Charlotte Gainsbourg, Isabelle Adjani and Bérénice Bejo participating in the act of protest as title cards urge viewers to support the women of Iran.
“Their courage and dignity oblige us,” the caption urges. “It is impossible not to denounce again and again this terrible repression. There have been dozens of deaths, including children. The arrests are swelling the number of prisoners already illegally held and too often tortured.”
Amini was arrested Sept. 13 by the morality police, a state apparatus that enforces the Islamic Republic’s religious laws, for not properly wearing her hijab. The police sent her to a “re-education center,” where authorities claim she died of a heart attack.
Witnesses who were locked up in the same facility as Amini said she was aggressively beaten in custody. On Sept. 20, the U.N. human rights office called for an investigation into the matter and demanded Iran end its “systemic persecution” of women.
The non-profit Iran Human Rights, which has monitored the protests since their eruption in Tehran, estimated at least 154 people had been killed during the demonstrations as of Tuesday. At least 63 of those citizens were gunned down in Zahedan in one day, according to the organization.
“This time protesters aren’t only calling for justice for Mahsa Amini,” Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, told CNN. “They’re also calling for women’s rights, for their civil and human rights, for a life without a religious dictatorship.”