Several hours after admission of the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Aerospace Force Amir Ali Hajizadeh, thousands of youths, particularly students, flooded into the streets of Tehran, Hamedan, Isfahan, Yazd, Rasht, Shiraz, Sanandaj, and several other cities to protest four days of lies by authorities. In many districts, youths were chanting the slogan, “Death to the liars,” a reference to regime officials who initially rejected claims of having shot down the airplane. On the other hand, demonstrators soon addressed the supreme leader Ali Khamenei, as the non-elected leader who bears all responsibilities for current disasters and crises of the country. For instance, at Sharif University, Tehran, protesters were chanting, “Commander in chief, resign!” and “Khamenei have some shame, let go of power!” “Death to the dictator [Ali Khamenei],” was also a common slogan in different cities across Iran.
The demonstration is taking place while the regime’s officials claimed all the people are mourning for the death of the former IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike at the turn of the year. However, protesters’ slogans against Soleimani and his leader [Ali Khamenei] that portrayed them as murderers displayed Iranians’ “sympathy” for the regime’s authorities. Protesters were chanting, “Soleimani is a murderer, so is his leader (Ali Khamenei),” and tore down Soleimani portraits installed in different parts of cities after his death.
Saturday evening [January 11], hundreds of people in Tehran initially rallied in front of Amir Kabir University in Hafez street. They gathered in response to the IRGC commander’s belated declaration of the cause of an airplane crash that resulted in the death of 176 of innocent passengers. In this respect, the mourning celebration immediately turned into political protests against the rulers, which reminded authorities that the society is in volatile conditions. Crowds were chanting, “1,500 of our people were killed in November.” Thus, Protesters demonstrated that they have not forgotten the regime’s brutal suppression of nationwide protests that took place last November.
While the Iranian media outlets are in full service for authorities, given the expansion of protests, they couldn’t conceal the news. “A large crowd has gathered at the crossroads of Taleghani and Hafez towards Enghelab Square, and their number is increasing every moment,” the official IRNA news agency reported on January 11. However, young demonstrators showed their anger against the state-run broadcasting organization that never reflect the real voice of the people and accounted as the regime’s apparatus for propaganda against dissidents and people’s genuine desires.
January 12 – Tehran, #Iran
Allameh Tabataba’i University
“State TV/radio are a disgrace!” in reference to the regime’s use of state outlets to broadcast fake news & pro-regime propaganda.#IranProtestspic.twitter.com/Vh4GpWDnAo
— People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) January 12, 2020
The protests rapidly extended to various cities across the country. Significantly, demonstrators chanted common slogans against authorities and their horrible policies have were mired Iran into unprecedented catastrophic conditions in all sectors.
Security forces responded to peaceful protests by firing tear gas and violent attacks on barehanded people. However, the violence raised anger and attracted the sympathy and solidarity of other segments of the society to demonstrators and caused the expansion of the people’s protests.
Footage shows that the demonstrations are ongoing. The continuation of protests has proven the deep rift between the ordinary people and rulers who always answered rightful grievances by brutality. It also displays that the regime has no capacity to behave with society like a normal state. Particularly, Khamenei has lost his right-hand, Qassem Soleimani, in both suppression inside Iran and aggression abroad. Also, the regime deals with numerous problems in different sectors such as politic, economic, social, etc.