What would have been the worst thing to happen if police and the Basijis hadn’t shown up?
Sounds like the bad stuff started when “police and militia forces used guns, truncheons, tear gas and water cannons to beat back thousands of demonstrators” Where did they need to be back from? Did the demonstrators have pitchforks and torches? Were they threatening anyone?
Trying to use the fear of pain is obviously not working, so why does the government insist on escalating it? It is just making the current Iranian government look bad.
The situation would have blown over much faster if the protesters had been allowed to march peacefully. Let them get their yayas out and then eventually they’d go home.