The early demonstrations against the government created the first student casualties. The scene repeated itself numerous times. Student organized protests kept growing, drawing in larger crowds. Demonstrators were killed by the hundreds. At some point the streets of Shahyad Square in Tehran were filled with over two million people, to demand the removal of the current government and the return of their chosen leader.
The year was ... 1978. The leader the student movements were supporting was Ayatollah Khomeini, who was in exile at the time. This was the Iranian Revolution that overthrew the Shah of Iran.
Sounds familiar? Iran's students have a history of galvanizing that nation. Iran has a massive student population, many of whom are extremely active. The current leadership should heed the protesters' demands if they want to stay in power. What's going on now is not an isolated incident. Just like in 78, the desire for change has been brewing for some years. This "election" was just the final straw.
But unlike some dictatorships that were able to suppress protests (like Moldavia), this one is going to be hard to squash. Students know their power from history, they know how to use technology, and they are fed up with the economic nightmare of Ahmadinejad's government (as well as earlier governments). Inflation of about 16% (over the past 9 years) and over 4 million people unemployed sets the misery index at unsustainable levels. The so called "Green Revolution" will not just go away.
Here are some photos that tell this story far better than words can describe it.
This is a message for our Canadian friends. Please call the Foreign Office to request opening of the Canadian embassy (in Tehran) doors for the wounded: 1-800-267-8376