Newsy analyzed footage and slogans from dozens of Iranian protest videos to better understand why people were demonstrating
.In just a few weeks, protests have swept across Iran. Some in the streets chant death to the country's president and, perhaps more surprisingly, to its supreme leader. The words are important. Listen, and they reveal what the protests are about and what the people want. So we scoured dozens of videos from the protests' first three days to translate and analyze those chants — to see to what the words reveal.
Protests first broke out at Shohada Square in Iran's second-largest city, Mashhad. These slogans were political and economic. Protesters spoke against Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. Similar chants were heard in the nearby city of Neyshabur.
Some reports suggest Rouhani's opponents prompted the initial protest in Mashhad. The protests spread and so did the people's grievances.
Geography Of Iran Protests Reveals An Unprecedented UprisingGeography Of Iran Protests Reveals An Unprecedented Uprising
On the second day, protests grew from four cities in Iran's east to at least 16 throughout the country. Chants against Rouhani continued, but videos from the second day showed protesters were now also speaking out against the country's religious elite, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
"The significance of targeting Iran's supreme leaders is at once religious and political. Saying, 'Syed Ali has to go,' is a way to address him with his first name, his short name, without invoking his new rank or his newly promoted rank and that could be considered a slur or an insult. But the targeting of the supreme leader in particular shows that the grievances are not limited to the administration, it's limited to governing apparatus of the country," Behnam Ben Taleblu said.
Some protesters were even calling back to the days of the Shah of Iran, before the Islamic Revolution in 1979 >>>