The crowds gathered outside Tehran’s Amirkabir University, their faces illuminated by the weak winter sun, were hundreds strong, and they were angry.
Grief over the deaths of 176 people killed when their plane came down outside Tehran had turned to fury overnight, after the government admitted that the Iranian military had shot down the airliner “unintentionally”, and promised an investigation.
“Resignation is not enough – we need prosecutions,” they chanted, raising their fists as traffic slowed to a crawl around them. “Shameless,” shouted others.
As darkness fell, the chants got harder, effectively calling for a vote on the government itself, and attacking Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “The way to save the people? Referendum, referendum,” the crowd shouted.