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Iranian football fans boo minute’s silence for IRGC commander

  • April 9, 2024
  • 2 min read
Iranian football fans boo minute’s silence for IRGC commander

A football stadium in Tehran “erupted” with jeers during tributes to senior military officials killed in an attack in Damascus last week. Fans of Esteghlal Tehran booed during the minute’s silence at the stadium dedicated to a high-ranking Revolutionary Guards commander.

Video footage shows players observing a minute silence in honour of the commander and other Revolutionary officials who were killed in the attack. Some spectators did “carry on as usual” while others “voice their dissent.”

Protests against the government have become a common sight including in football pitches. Last month, Esteghlal Tehran fans invoked the name of the Iranian Shah Reza Pahlavi whose government was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic Revolution that resulted in the current regime coming to power.

In late October, authorities tried to use local league fixtures to demonstrate solidarity with Hamas, stipulating a pre-game minute’s silence “in memory of the Palestinian victims in Gaza,” a move that was met with disdain from Esteghlal who responded with jeers. Following, 7th October, Hamas attack on Israel, a Palestinian flag was introduced in the spectators’ stand during a game between Persepolis and Gol Gohar Sinjar. The host fans expressed their disproval as they chanted “take the Palestinian flag and shove it” in Farsi.

Public approval of the government and its oppressive policies has increasingly been negative over the years especially following the 2022 killing in custody of Mahsa Amini by the country’s ‘vice’ police. During the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the players on the Iranian national team stood in silence during the national anthem as fans held up signs and booed the anthem in solidarity with Amini and those protesting the government’s laws.

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