World Bulletin / News Desk
Tens of thousands of regime supporters marched in cities across Iran on Saturday in a show of strength for the regime after two days of angry protests directed against the country's religious rulers.
The pre-planned rallies came just after anti-government protests, which had spread from Mashhad on Thursday to numerous towns across the country.
Initially aimed against high prices, the anti-government protests quickly turned against the Islamic regime as a whole.
Videos on social media showed hundreds marching through the holy city of Qom on Friday evening, with people chanting "Death to the dictator" and "Free political prisoners".
There were even chants in favour of the monarchy toppled by the Islamic revolution of 1979, while others criticised the regime for supporting the Palestinians and other regional movements rather than focusing on problems at home.
Footage of large-scale protests were shared from the cities of Rasht, Hamedan, Kermanshah, Qazvin and elsewhere, with police responding with water cannons.
Payam Parhiz, editor-in-chief of reformist media network Nazar that broke the news of the Mashhad protests, said there had been calls for protests in Tehran on Saturday.
"There may be some clashes, but after today probably not much will happen," he said.
"But it can't be predicted for sure as the recent protests have been a complete surprise."
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Thousands of supporters poured into the streets of the capital island Male on Friday night and continued their protest rally till early Saturday, the joint opposition said in a statement issued in Colombo.
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