Thousands of Iranian protesters hit streets condemning leaders over shooting of Ukrainian plane

Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets this weekend condemning Iranian authorities for shooting a Ukrainian passenger plane and killing all 176 people on board.

The airliner disaster came hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing US troops. That move retaliation for a drone strike at Baghdad airport that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

Demonstrators are calling for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and for those responsible for downing the plane to be prosecuted.

“Khamenei have shame. Leave the country,” chanted protesters in the capital, Tehran, in footage posted on social media.

Khamenei has been in office for three decades, and there is no limit to his term.

Demonstrators chant during a vigil for the victims of the Ukraine airliner crash in Tehran on January 11.

Protests have now spread to other cities, including Shiraz, Esfahan, Hamedan and Orumiyeh, Reuters reported.

US President Donald Trump tweeted his support for the demonstrators, saying his administration will “continue to stand by you.” Likewise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his support for the protesters and called on European powers to increase pressure on the Iranian regime.

Iran previously denied US claims that the country had struck down the plane before admitting the mistake Saturday.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said his country “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake” and his “thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families.” The Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blamed the disaster on “human error” and “US adventurism.”

Props CNN