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Egypt's crackdown on protesters evokes Iran's heavy hand in 2009 unrest

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At least eight more were killed by live fire near a Cairo prison, Al Jazeera reported Saturday afternoon. Witnesses said Saturday that “live ammunition” was being used to quell unrest, according to Reuters and Al Jazeera. Violence overnight Friday left a number of police stations and government buildings torched.

On the face of it, the outpouring of anger across Egypt and the government's declared "zero tolerance" policy look similar to the Iranian street fight in mid-2009. The Islamic Republic used every tool to quell weeks of unrest, which senior Revolutionary Guard commanders said later had brought the regime to the “edge” of collapse.

But while many dozen have so far been killed in Egypt and more than 1,000 injured, the violence in Iran was marked by its brutality. Scores, if not hundreds, were killed in Iran, 4,000 were arrested in the first stage, and detainees were raped and tortured.

Differences with Iran crackdown

“The Iranians created real fear through using extreme force in streets and detention centers – they much preferred personal combat to water cannon and tear gas,” says Sir Richard Dalton, the former British ambassador to Tehran now at the Chatham House think tank.

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