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Thousands Attend Iranian President Raisi’s Funeral Procession, as Others Celebrate

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Iranians are taking to the streets of Tabriz to observe the funeral rites of President Ebrahim Raisi, who died along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and six others in a helicopter crash on Sunday, as others celebrated the hardline leader’s death.

Funeral rites will take place until Thursday across Tabriz—the largest city close to the crash site near the Iranian-Azerbaijani border—and Qom, Tehran, and Birjand, before Raisi is buried at the Imam Reza Shrine in his birthplace of Mashhad. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei announced Monday that five days of mourning would be observed across Iran.

Video footage shows Iranians lining the streets, some holding photographs of Raisi, and awaiting the procession of eight coffins containing the deceased. Among the crowds was Mohammad Mokhber, Iran’s Acting President, according to Tasnim, a local news agency.  

Read More: Why Some Iranians Refuse to Mourn President Ebrahim Raisi

Mokhber was swiftly named alongside interim foreign minister Ali Bagheri Kani and presidential elections were set for June 28.

Most shops remain open in what was a relatively muted atmosphere following the death of a senior Iranian leader. Opponents of Raisi also shared videos on social media of people celebrating his death.

One student in Tehran told Reuters that she was not saddened by Raisi’s death, “because he ordered the crackdown on women for hijab.” 

Raisi was nicknamed the “Butcher of Tehran” for his role in the mass executions of thousands of political prisoners in the 1980s, and was considered a protege of Khamanei.

Ahead of the funeral rites, Iranian Prosecutor General Mohammad Kazem Movahhedi Azad ordered an online crackdown for social media posts criticizing the late President.

Read More: World Leaders React to Death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

An investigation to determine the cause of Sunday’s helicopter crash is underway. Raisi was returning from a visit to Iran’s border with Azerbaijan to inaugurate a dam with President Ilham Aliyev.

The crash took place in the Dizmar forest in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, where weather conditions made search efforts difficult. Following the release of drone footage by the Islamic Republic News Agency, all eight passengers aboard the helicopter were declared dead.

The circumstances surrounding the crash have given rise to suspicion amid longrunning jockeying over who could eventually replace Khamanei, who is 85 and in poor health, and as Iran remains on tense footing with Israel and the U.S.

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Write to Armani Syed at armani.syed@time.com