Pro-government demonstrations in Iran

Ⓒ TASNIM NEWS/AFP – Hamed Malekpour – | A rally on December 30, 2017 at the Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran in support of the Iranian government

Thousands of people demonstrated in the main cities of Iran this Saturday in support of the government, a sign of the regime’s strength after the protests on Thursday, the most important in years.

The official television showed images of thousands of people dressed in black demonstrating in Tehran, the capital, as well as in Mashhad, the second largest city, and in other parts of the country.

The march celebrates the anniversary of the end of “sedition”, the anti-government protests of 2009 after disputed elections.

The announcement of this Saturday, which was already scheduled, comes casually after anti-government demonstrations that began on Thursday in several cities of the country.

The demonstrations began as a protest for the high prices but then became a criticism of the regime.

In the social networks, videos were published in which the protesters of the holy city of Qom shouted “Death to the dictator!” and “Freedom for political prisoners!”

Although official television only reflected demonstrations in favor of the government, some members of the regime asked not to dismiss Iran’s problems.

“The country faces great challenges, such as unemployment, high prices, corruption, lack of water, social inequalities and the imbalance of the budget,” Hesamodin Ashena, cultural advisor to President Hasan Rohani, wrote on Twitter.

“People have the right to have their voice heard,” he added.

Meanwhile, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, quoted by the semi-official agency Isna, called on Saturday to the population not to participate in “illegal demonstrations, as they will create problems for themselves and other citizens.”

The United States condemned the arrest of protesters, while Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that the Iranian government “should respect the rights of its people, including the right to express themselves.”

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