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Iran authorities supporters, safety confront protesters at World Cup


Tensions ran excessive at Iran’s second match on the World Cup on Friday as followers supporting the Iranian authorities harassed these protesting in opposition to it and stadium safety seized flags, T-shirts and different gadgets expressing assist for the protest motion that has gripped the Islamic Republic.

Some followers had been stopped by stadium safety from bringing in Persian pre-revolutionary flags to match in opposition to Wales on the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. Others carrying such flags had them ripped from their fingers by pro-government Iran followers, who additionally shouted insults at followers sporting T-shirts with the slogan of the protest motion gripping the nation, “Girl, Life, Freedom.”

In contrast to of their first match in opposition to England, the Iran gamers sang alongside to their nationwide anthem earlier than the match as some followers within the stadium wept, whistled and booed.

The nationwide crew has come beneath shut scrutiny for any statements or gestures concerning the nationwide protests which have wracked Iran for weeks.

Shouting matches erupted in strains outdoors the stadium between followers screaming “Girls, Life, Freedom” and others shouting again “The Islamic Republic!”

Small mobs of males surrounded three totally different girls giving interviews concerning the protests to overseas media outdoors the stadium, disrupting broadcasts as they angrily chanted, “The Islamic Republic of Iran!” Many feminine followers appeared shaken as Iranian authorities supporters shouted at them in Farsi and filmed them close-up on their telephones.

One 35-year-old girl named Maryam, who like different Iran followers declined to present her final identify for concern of presidency reprisals, began to cry as shouting males blowing horns encircled her and filmed her face. She had the phrases “Girl Life Freedom” painted on her face.

A lady sporting a black T-shirt gestures with a peace sign up assist for freedom for girls in Iran in reminiscence of Mahsa Amini, forward of the Iran-Wales World Cup match in Qatar. (Pavel Golovkin/The Related Press)

Maryam and her buddies had worn hats emblazoned with the identify of an outspoken Iranian former soccer participant Voria Ghafouri, who had criticized Iranian authorities and was arrested in Iran on Thursday on accusations of spreading propaganda in opposition to the federal government. She stated Iranian authorities supporters had taken the hats from their heads.

“We wish to elevate consciousness about his arrest and concerning the girls’s rights motion. Easy,” stated Maryam, who lives in London however is initially from Tehran. “I am not right here to battle with anybody, however individuals have been attacking me and calling me a terrorist. All I am right here to say is that soccer does not matter if individuals are getting killed within the streets.”

Iranian-Canadian speaks of being threatened by police

Two Iranian-Canadians spoke to CBC’s Thomas Daigle outdoors the stadium earlier than the match

“Proper now, soccer is the least essential subject on individuals’s thoughts in Iran. Crucial factor, the main focus of everybody, is to do away with the corrupt regime and to get their primary human rights,” one among them stated.

One other stated her and a fellow protester had been “threatened by the police, however added, “we’re making an attempt our greatest to be our individuals’s voice.”

A 3rd unidentified protester who spoke to CBC earlier than coming into the stadium lifted his U.S. crew jersey to disclose a protest T-shirt, depicting a winged girl with hair flowing freely, symbolizing the protesters’ “Girls, Life, Freedom” theme.

Livid protesters in Iran have been venting their anger over social and political repression and the state-mandated headband, or hijab, for girls. The demonstrations, spurred by the Sept. 16 demise of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini within the custody of the nation’s morality police, have rapidly grown into requires the downfall of the Islamic Republic itself. At the very least 419 individuals have been killed for the reason that protests erupted, in response to monitoring group Human Rights Activists in Iran.

The turmoil has overshadowed the beginning of Iran’s World Cup marketing campaign. The opening match in opposition to England on Monday was the scene of protests as anti-government followers waved indicators and chanted within the stands. Earlier than that match, which Iran misplaced 6-2, its gamers remained silent as their nationwide anthem performed and did not rejoice their two targets. On Friday they sang alongside to the anthem and celebrated wildly after they scored within the 2-0 win in opposition to Wales.

Solely ‘regular’ flags allowed

Ayeh Shams from america, who was on the sport in opposition to Wales together with her brother, stated safety guards confiscated her flag as a result of it had the phrase “girls” on it.

“We’re first technology American. Our dad and mom had been born in Iran. We’re simply right here to benefit from the video games and provides a platform for the Iranian people who find themselves preventing in opposition to the Islamic regime,” Shams stated.

A soccer fan wears a sticker on her arm demanding freedom for girls in Iran in reminiscence of Mahsa Amini, previous to the World Cup group B soccer match between Wales and Iran. (Francisco Seco/The Related Press)

Zeinlabda Arwa, a safety guard on the stadium, confirmed that authorities had been given orders to confiscate something however the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Whether or not you are speaking about Iran or Qatar or any nation, you’re solely allowed to herald the traditional flag,” she stated.

An offended group of Iranian authorities supporters shouted at Elyas Doerr, a 16-year-old Iranian residing in Arizona who was sporting the Persian flag as a cape, till he took it off and and put it in his bag. “They don’t seem to be liking that it is a political assertion,” he stated, including that different Iranian followers had approached him to say they appreciated the gesture.

Earlier than Friday’s match, Iranians chanted anti-government slogans from rooftops in Tehran. Scattered protests additionally erupted in Kurdish cities within the nation’s west and throughout the central metropolis of Isfahan on Thursday.

Iranian state TV on Friday devoted its principal information bulletin to Iranians’ soccer prowess, wishing the nationwide crew luck in opposition to Wales and airing a montage of Iranian targets all through historical past.

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