Thousands of Iranians took to the streets throughout the country on Thursday to protest against the deteriorating economic situation. Protesters were filmed shouting anti-government slogans such as “death to the dictator” and “death to Rouhani.”

Hassan Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani Photo Credit: EPA

Thousands of people gathered in several major junctions in cities in Iran on Thursday to protest against the regime amid soaring unemployment rates, poverty and rising prices. Protesters shouted slogans such as “death to Rouhani” and “death to the dictator,” referring to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

The demonstrators expressed their dissatisfaction with their government’s attempts to expand its influence in the Middle East and demanded that the regime stop supporting the civil war in Syria and focus on its people instead. “Forget Syria, think of us” read the protesters’ banners. “Don’t be afraid, we are all together.”

In the northeastern city of Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city, security forces sprayed tear gas at the demonstrating crowds.  Maryam Rajavi, leader of a resistance organization against the Iranian government, described the protests as an indicator of popular and widespread frustration, which she hopes may lead to reforms in the country.