Thousands of regime supporters marched in cities across Iran on Saturday in a show of strength for the regime after two days of protests that marked the biggest unrest for years.
State television showed large crowds of black-clad supporters gathering in the capital Tehran, second city Mashhad and elsewhere to mark the anniversary of the end of "the sedition" -- the last major unrest that followed disputed elections in 2009.
It was a coincidence that 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 former monarchy toppled by the Islamic revolution of 1979, while others attacked the regime for supporting Palestinians and other regional movements rather than focusing on problems at home.
Footages of large-scale protests were shared from the cities of Rasht, Hamedan, Kermanshah, Qazvin and elsewhere, with police responding with water cannons.
"Alarm signal for everyone," was the headline on reformist newspaper Arman, which called for action on living costs.
The conservative Javan newspaper warned that Iran's "enemies are targeting the system's popular support" and seeking to "create divisions".
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