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[News] World Cup 2022: Iranian man killed celebrating football team's loss - report


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A man is reported to have been killed by security forces in northern Iran, as anti-government protesters publicly celebrated the national football team's elimination from the World Cup.

Activists said Mehran Samak was shot in the head after he honked his car's horn in Bandar Anzali on Tuesday night.

Videos from other cities showed crowds cheering and dancing in the streets.

Many Iranians refused to support their football team in Qatar, seeing it as a representation of the Islamic Republic.

State-affiliated media blamed hostile forces both inside and outside Iran for putting unfair pressure on the players following their 1-0 loss to the USA in the final group game.

The players did not sing the national anthem before their first game, a 6-2 defeat by England, in an apparent expression of solidarity with the protesters.

But they did sing at the Wales game, which they won 2-0, and at the politically-charged showdown against the USA.

Some protesters saw that as a betrayal of their cause even though there were reports that the team came under intense pressure from Iranian authorities.

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Iranian anti-government football fans protest in Qatar
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The unrest started 10 weeks ago following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman arrested by morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the strict rules requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab.

Authorities have responded to what they have portrayed as foreign-backed "riots" with a violent crackdown in which the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights says at least 448 people have been killed, including 60 children. More than 18,000 others are reported to have been arrested.


Iran Human Rights reported that security personnel shot and killed Mehran Samak, 27, when he honked his car's horn in the Caspian Sea city of Bandar Anzali on Tuesday night to celebrate the Iranian football team's defeat.

BBC Persian obtained a video that showed Mr Samak's burial on Wednesday morning. The mourners can be heard chanting "You are the filth, you are the immoral, I am a free woman" - a slogan frequently used during the protests.

Iranian security forces have denied killing peaceful protesters.

However, the opposition activist collective 1500tasvir posted videos that it said showed security forces opening fire at people in the south-western city of Behbahan overnight and beating a woman in Qazvin, south of Bandar Anzali.

Other videos showed men and women celebrating the World Cup elimination in Tehran and a number of cities in the predominantly Kurdish north-west of the country. Dozens of protesters have reportedly been killed in recent weeks there as security forces intensified their crackdown.

In footage from Mahsa Amini's home city of Saqqez, dozens of people could be seen cheering and waving scarves in a main square before fireworks are set off.

link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-63805284


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