Political unrest in Iran appeared to overshadow the national team’s second game at the World Cup when pro-government fans harassed anti-government supporters outside the stadium in Qatar ahead of Friday’s clash with Wales.
Some Iranian fans confiscated Persian pre-revolutionary Iranian flags from supporters entering the stadium and berated those wearing shirts with the slogan of the country’s protest movement: “Woman, Life, Freedom”.
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The Iranian players sang while playing their national anthem, although they did not sing in their opening game earlier this week, apparently to show their support for the protesters at home.
While the anthem was being played, loud cheers could be heard from Iranian supporters while the team sang softly as it played.
Iranian authorities have responded with deadly force to quell protests that broke out following the death of Mahsa Amini in September after she was arrested for wearing a fake headscarf.
Small groups of men angrily chanted “Islamic Republic of Iran” at women giving interviews to foreign media about the protests.
Many female fans were visibly shaken as Iranian government supporters surrounded them with national flags and filmed them on their cellphones.
Loud fighting broke out outside the security checkpoint at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, with fans yelling “Women, Life, Freedom” and others shouting back “The Islamic Republic.”
Some anti-government fans waved signs in support of the protest movement in Iran’s first game against England earlier this week, which they lost 6-2.
Information from Reuters contributed to this report.
https://www.espn.com/soccer/ir-iran/story/4813286/iran-supporters-confront-protesters-before-wc-game-vs-wales Iran supporters confront protesters before WC game vs. Wales