DUBAI (Reuters) – Anti-government protesters see the latest show of athlete solidarity after a video clip of Iran’s water polo team allegedly failing to sing the national anthem at a tournament in Thailand has surfaced on social media. ing. .
The video was shared online by many common Iranian Twitter users. When the Iranian national anthem was played during the Asian Championship match against India in Bangkok on Tuesday, it was indicated that the team was not singing.
Reuters could not confirm the video clip and the Iranian Swimming, Diving and Water Polo Federation could not comment.
But social media users saw the song’s rejection as an expression of support for the protests eight weeks ago, one of the biggest challenges for Iran’s clerical leaders since the 1979 Islamic revolution. .
“One of the most radical acts by the Iranian water polo national team. We know a sports team that stands by the people and appreciate your support,” said an unidentified Twitter user. I’m here.
Anti-government demonstrations erupted in September after the death of Masa Amini, a Kurdish woman detained by moral police for ignoring the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code imposed on women.
It wasn’t the first time Iranian sports officials took actions that were interpreted as a gesture of support for the protests.
According to the Twitter account of a widely followed activist known as 1500TASVIR, players of the national beach soccer team refused to sing Iran’s national anthem at the start of a match against the United Arab Emirates in Dubai last week. .
The players then didn’t cheer or celebrate after beating Brazil to win the championship on Sunday, the activist account said.
One Iranian player celebrated his goal by pretending to cut his hair, a protest gesture by Iranian women on the front lines of protests.
Iran’s beach soccer federation said on Monday that the players’ actions were “unwise”.
Another Twitter user, identified by the site as student Mehdi Andarziyan, accused authorities of not eradicating dissent sooner, saying:
“Sports Minister, if you were slapping a beach soccer player, a water polo player would not disrespect the national anthem of the Islamic Republic!”
On Sunday, skater Niloufar Mardani performed without a headscarf at a competition in Turkey. She later released a video shared on her Telegram account, which Reuters could not confirm, but which shows her apology.
The footage explains that she attended a skating competition alone in Turkey at her own expense and didn’t realize the veil had fallen when she took off the helmet she needed to stand on the podium.
She also appeared without a veil off the podium.
Mardani said her story was manipulated by “foreign media”.
Iran’s sports ministry said Mardani did not have permission to participate in events in Turkey.It criticized her behavior and said she had not been part of the national team since last month.
More than 1,000 people were prosecuted in Tehran province alone in connection with what the government called “riots.”
Activist news agency HRANA said 321 protesters, including 50 children, had died in the riots as of Monday.
38 members of the security forces were also killed.
State media reported last month that more than 46 members of the security forces, including police officers, had been killed. Government officials have not provided further estimates of the death toll.
Written by Michael Georgy. Edited by Robert Birsel and Angus MacSwan
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