Iranian protesters clash with government supporters at World Cup

Protesters supporting and opposing the Iranian government clashed at a World Cup match on Friday as protests continue in the Middle Eastern country over the death of a woman in police custody in September.

Stadium security took flags and T-shirts supporting the protest movement and stopped other attendees from bringing Persian pre-revolutionary flags to Iran’s match against Wales in Qatar, its second of the World Cup tournament.

Pro-government fans also ripped flags out of the hands of protesters and shouted at fans wearing shirts with the slogan of the protest movement, “Woman, Life, Freedom.”

Protests have continued in Iran for the past two months after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the custody of Iran’s morality police after she was detained for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly. Thousands of people have taken to the streets across the country to protest her arrest and death, with female protesters at times cutting their hair or removing their hijab publicly.

Hundreds of protesters have reportedly been killed and thousands have been arrested.

Iran’s soccer team chose not to sing their country’s national anthem at their first match on Monday, an apparent act of support for the protests. The team did sing the anthem at their Friday match.

Fans engaged in shouting matches while waiting in line, with anti-government protesters yelling “Woman, Life, Freedom” and pro-government fans yelling “The Islamic Republic.”

Groups of men supporting the government gathered around three women giving interviews about the protests, trying to disrupt the broadcasts.

Iran defeated Wales in its match, 2-0.

Iranian fans waved national flags after their team’s win, yelling “victory” to overshadow chants of Amini’s name.

A security guard confirmed that she had been given orders to take away anything except Iran’s flag, saying that was their instruction regardless of the country.

“Whether you’re talking about Iran or Qatar or any country, you are only allowed to bring in the normal flag,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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