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Iranian Protesters Take to the Streets in Fury after Tehran Admits Downing Ukrainian Flight

Protesters chant Khamenei is a murderer … illegitimate ruler in fresh protests seeking his resignation

Protesters took to streets in Tehran chanting “Khamenei is a murderer and Khamenei is an illegitimate ruler” on Jan. 11 after the Iranian military admitted to shooting down the Ukranian plane that carried at least 130 Iranian citizens.

The news of the protesters openly chanting slogans against Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, whom Iran designates as the “Supreme Leader” was confirmed by Al Markazia, a Lebanese Central New Agency.

Faranak Amidi, a Womens Affairs Journalist with the BBC World Service, shared a video from one of the protest sites on her Twitter on Saturday. The protesters in the video chanted in chorus: “Today is a day to mourn. The abandoned Iranians are mourning today.”

دریافتی ازاصفهان، سی‌و‌سه پل، امشب.
عزا عزاست امروز روز عزاست امروز، ایرانی بی‌پناه صاحب عزاست امروز. pic.twitter.com/ER4Y1aZsUe

— Faranak Amidi (@Faranak_amidi) January 11, 2020

The protests on Saturday afternoon began as mournful gatherings for the Iranian lives lost in the crash and soon turned into people chanting “death to liars” and seeking Khameneis resignation, reported the Daily Mail.

Protests at the Amirkabir University chanted “Down with the dictator and “shame on IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guard], let the country go” while at the Sharif University protesters said, “commander in chief, resign!” It referred to Khamenei.

Protesters in Rasht in northern Iran chanted “you have no shame” according to a video shared on Twitter.

مردم در شهر رشت هم به خیابان آمدند و علیه نیروهای سرکوب شعار می دهند: بی شرف! بی شرف!@ordoyekar pic.twitter.com/TZHCO1rlsr

— اردوی کار (@ordoyekar) January 11, 2020

In another Twitter video from a candle vigil site at an engineering school in the province of Shiraz, the protesters were singing a revolutionary song “My Grade-School Friend,” which encourages people to rise up against tyranny.

اعتراض شبانه دانشکده مهندسی دانشگاه#شیراز@ordoyekar pic.twitter.com/LGLWcQnMeG

— اردوی کار (@ordoyekar) January 11, 2020

President Trump expressed his support for the protesters on Twitter, writing: “To the brave and suffering Iranian people: I have stood with you since the beginning of my presidency and my government will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely. Your courage is inspiring.”

به مردم شجاع و رنج کشیده ایران: من از ابتدای دوره ریاست جمهوریم با شما ایستاده‌ام و دولت من همچنان با شما خواهد ایستاد. ما اعتراضات شما را از نزدیک دنبال می کنیم. شجاعت شما الهام بخش است.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2020

Daily Mail reports that riot police tried to disperse the protesters by using tear gas during the night.

Irans Revolutionary Guard on Saturday acknowledged that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week, killing all 176 people aboard, after the government had repeatedly denied Western accusations and mounting evidence that it was responsible.

The plane was shot down early Wednesday, hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad. No one was hurt in the attack on the U.S. bases.

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guards aerospace division, said his unit accepts full responsibility for the shootdown. In an address broadcast by state TV, he said that when he learned about the downing of the plane, “I wished I was dead.”

He said he raised the possibility to his superiors that his forces shot down the plane as early as Wednesday morning because “the simultaneous occurrence of the launch and crash was suspicious.”

The admission undermined the credibility of information provided by senior officials, who for three days had adamantly dismissed allegations of a missile strike as Western propaganda.

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