Protesters seeking the downfall of Iran’s clerical regime took to the streets of dozens of cities on December 5, eyewitness reports and videos published on social media show, as many shops shut their doors following calls for a three-day nationwide strike.
Iran has been rocked by unrest following the September 16 death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of Tehran’s morality police. Hundreds of people have been killed in the security forces’ brutal crackdown on the protest movement, and thousands of people were detained.
During the 12 weeks of protests, Iranians initially demanded more freedoms and women's rights, with crowds of young women removing their headscarves in the street. But the demonstrations rapidly grew into calls for the overthrow of the theocracy that has ruled the country for more than four decades.
Demonstrators came to the streets of several Tehran neighborhoods on December 5. Traffic was halted on Niayesh highway, northwest of the capital, after protesters light a fire there, footage shows.
Iranians could be heard chanting "Death to Khamenei" in the Ekbatan residential complex, in reference to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
In Shariati Street, the protestors showed determination to overthrow the Islamic Republic, chanting the slogan, "If one person is killed, a thousand people stand behind him".
Around Shariati metro station, north of Tehran, protesting women chanted the slogan, "This is the last message; the target is the whole system".
Young protestors in Arak, the capital of Markazi province, set a base of the paramilitary Basij force on fire, according to one video.
In the central city of Isfahan, demonstrators chanted, "Basiji, Sepahi, you are our ISIS", in reference to the members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the extremist group Islamic State.
"Death to the dictator" could be heard in Golsar, Alborz province, while protesters in Karaj’s Derakhti Street chanted, "Poverty, corruption, rise in prices, we are going to overthrow you".
Rallies rocked the northeastern city of Mashhad late on December 5, with protesters blocking a street in Vakilabad area, according to one video.
Women were filmed marching in Rasht, the capital city of the northern Gilan province, shouting "Death to the dictator", while drivers honked their horns in support.