Protests have sprung up in Iran’s capital and other cities demanding the resignation of senior government officials after Iran admitted to mistakenly shooting down a passenger plane and killing all 176 people on board.
Iran has blamed the incident on human error. After initially denying any responsibility, it admitted to shooting down the Ukraine Airlines plane. Many of the victims were Iranians or of Iranian descent.
The commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said he wished he had been killed along with the passengers on the plane downed by unintentional missile fire, according to Al Jazeera.
General Hossein Salami, who was summoned to a closed-door session of parliament to explain the incident, said he has never felt more ashamed as he did after learning of the accident. “I swear to almighty God that I wished I were in that plane and had crashed with them and had burned but had not witnessed this tragic incident,” he told Iranian MPs.
BBC reported that protesters in Tehran and in several other cities chanted slogans against the leadership and clashed with security forces. Tear gas was also reportedly fired.
The protests entered their second day on Sunday.
In one apparently symbolic act rejecting state propaganda, a video circulating on social media showed students taking care not to walk over US and Israeli flags painted on the ground at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran. BBC also noted that many of the protesters are women.
In some social media clips protesters can be heard chanting anti-government slogans, including: “They are lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is right here.”