A Swedish member of the European Parliament cut her hair during a speech in the European Union assembly in solidarity with anti-government demonstrations in Iran.

The protests were ignited by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in morality police custody last month.

She had been detained for allegedly breaching the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.

Anger flared at her funeral and spread to become the biggest wave of protests to rock Iran in almost three years, despite the backlash by the security forces that has killed scores and seen hundreds arrested.

Students rallied at the weekend before being confronted by riot police who cornered them in an underground car park of Tehran's prestigious Sharif University of Technology before hauling them away.

Schoolgirls have since taken up the baton around the country, removing their hijabs, shouting anti-regime slogans and defacing images of the clerical state's leaders.

"Until Iran is free, our fury will be bigger than the oppressors. Until the women of Iran are free we are going to stand with you," Iraqi-born Abir Al-Sahlani said in the parliament in Strasbourg, France, yesterday evening.

Then, taking a pair of scissors, she said "Jin, Jiyan, Azadi" - Kurdish for "Woman, Life, Freedom" - as she snipped off her ponytail.

Leading French actresses including Juliette Binoche and Isabelle Huppert have also cut locks of hair in protest over Ms Amini's death.

Protests have spread abroad including London, Paris, Rome and Madrid in solidarity with Iranian demonstrators.