Kabul: Millions of Iranians hit the streets in Tehran and other cities on Saturday to mark the 44th anniversary of the Islamic revolution.
For the past two years, the 1979 overthrow of the Western-backed shah was commemorated mainly in vehicles and on motorcycles due to Covid restrictions.
But this year, many flag-waving people travelled on foot to converge on the capital’s iconic Azadi (Freedom) Square, despite chilly temperatures.
They chanted slogans including “Down with the US”, “Down with Israel”, “Down with the UK” and “Down with traitors “, an AFP journalist said.
State television said the celebrations were held in 1,400 cities and towns across the country, airing footage of large rallies in Isfahan, Mashhad, Shiraz, and Tabriz.
People bore portraits of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as well as the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic, and revered general Qasem Soleimani, assassinated in a US air strike on Baghdad airport in January 2020.
They also held placards reading “We stand to the end”, “A united, strong and stable Iran” and “We obey the leader”.
The celebrations mark the day that the shah’s government fell 10 days after Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile and led the uprising in February 1979.
Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had already fled Iran in January of that year, after months of protests against his rule.