2009 vs now: How Iran’s new protests compare to the past

In 2009, millions around Iran turned out in protests demanding change after the allegedly rigged re-election of a hard-line chairwoman, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

It was an earthquake at the time, the first major challenge to the cleric-led regulation since it was installed in 1979. Eventually, the reply provided by the Iran’s ruling establishment, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was brutal. Dozens were killed, many more were incarcerated and tortured.

Now a new wave of protests is blazing around Iran, this one with smaller crowds, but more widespread, angry over a failed economy and more willing to demand the whole system be brought down. Since last Thursday, at least 21 people have been killed.

In a dramatic switching from 2009, protesters now are chanting slogans against Khamenei and repudiating the ruling system.

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