How Iranians pivoted from condemning the US to dramatic protests against their own government after officials shot down a commercial plane
- Iranians staged three days of increasingly fiery protests in the latest spike of tensions after armed forces shot down a plane and its 176 passengers.
- Protesters flooded the streets of Tehran to take aim at the country's leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with harsh demands like "death to the dictator" displayed on homemade signs.
- Witnesses told outlets and wrote on social media that riot police fired tear gas and live ammunition at demonstrators.
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Iranians staged three days of increasingly fiery protests in response to the armed forces strike that killed 176 passengers on a commercial flight in an angry demand for the resignation of the country's leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.Videos posted on social media over the weekend showed authorities appearing to ramp up physical responses to the crowds, with witnesses saying that riot police fired tear gas and live ammunition at demonstrators.
See how violent protests have been plaguing Iranians since November, and how a shift in attitude is ramping up pressure on the government.
Fiery protests sprung up in late 2019, when the country saw its worst civil unrest since the Islamic revolution 40 years ago.
The friction between Iranians and their government spread alongside mounting antagonization of the US in the region.
The US shocked the region with a targeted strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian military official, in accordance with orders from President Donald Trump.
Crowds gathered to honor Soleimani almost immediately after the attack in a four-day funeral.
As tensions between the countries spiraled, Iranians flooded Tehran to present a show of mourning for Soleimani while taking bold shots at the US and its allies.
Anti-US demonstrations in Iran were matched with protests in American cities and other countries that pushed back on the possibility of the US entering a war and sending thousands of more troops to the Middle East.
The US and Iran traded hits on each others' forces in the week after the strike before Iran unleashed a shocking attack on a commercial airliner.
Thousands flooded the streets of Tehran to honor the victims of the tragic flight, but the government's bungled response cast an angry mood over devastated Iranians.
The city was once again embroiled in violent protests, as some held signs demanding "death to the liar."
The protesters earned goodwill wishes from President Donald Trump, who tweeted in English and Farsi to warn the government against targeting those demonstrating.
What started as a Saturday night vigil turned into a full weekend demonstration led by activists and students.
Internet connections around key spots in the demonstrations were reportedly shut off as authorities sought to contain the protests.
Police denied shooting protesters in violent clashes, but demonstrations roiled on for a third day.
After days of protest, the country's leadership announced arrests had been made for shooting down the airplane in the first critical steps of handling the incident's larger fallout.
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