thousands of pro-government demonstrators turned out for rallies.

These official rallies were organised in advance of the anti-government protests, to mark the eighth anniversary of the suppression of major street protests in 2009.

The current protests began in the north-east on Thursday over living standards and by Friday had spread to several major cities.


As night fell, reports were still coming of protests in many cities. There have been clashes with the police in some places.

The common factor in all of them has been protesters' demand for an end to clerical rule in Iran.

Widespread discontent is not limited to complaints about rising prices or widespread unemployment.

It has been an eye-opening three days for the government, which has been careful not to provoke the protesters too much.

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