During the second half of Monday’s match between Portugal and Uruguay at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar, a man with a rainbow flag ran on the field, protesting the host country.
Additionally, the protester also wore a shirt that read “RESPECT FOR IRANIAN WOMEN” and “SAVE UKRAINE.”
A spectator ran onto the field carrying a rainbow flag during a World Cup match between Portugal and Uruguay wearing a blue Superman T-shirt that said “SAVE UKRAINE.” https://t.co/suRx4nehuf— The Associated Press (@AP) November 28, 2022
Shedding light on the situation in Iran has been making headlines for months now after more than 400 people are estimated to have been killed by Iranian security forces since protests began in September over the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who was in custody of the country's morality police.
In fact, the Iranian national team decided to stay silent during their national anthem before its first group match against England in solidarity with the anti-government demonstrations currently taking place in Iran.
Fans at the World Cup game between Iran and the U.S. wore shirts bearing Mahsa Amini's name and the word "freedom," in a show of defiance against the Iranian government. https://t.co/xmDSsaIet4 pic.twitter.com/V8A5Un2sgf— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 29, 2022
The protestor’s flag is being called a peace flag as it had "pace," the Italian word for peace, printed on it in white. While not confirmed, the rainbow pattern on the peace flag seems to be in support of LGBTQ rights.
In Qatar homosexuality is criminalized and all LGBTQ people are marginalized. Throughout the first week of the World Cup, fans and journalists were refused entry to venues for wearing rainbow-colored merchandise.
However, organizers have since apologized for those incidents and assured fans that pride apparel is allowed at venues. Although the colorful merch is allowed in the venue, Monday’s stunt was the first time during the Qatar World Cup that the colors appeared on TV screens.
FIFA threatened European teams with “sporting sanctions” if their captains wore anti-discrimination armbands featuring rainbow colors that were similar, though not identical, to the pride color scheme.
Monday’s stunt was the first time during the Qatar World Cup that the colors infiltrated most American TV screens. According to the Associated Press, the protester was detained after being chased by security officials.
Qatar's Supreme Committee released a statement on the incident, saying that the fan had been banned from all future World Cup matches but would not face any serious consequences.
"Following the pitch invasion that took place during last night's Portugal vs. Uruguay match, we can confirm that the individual involved was released shortly after being removed from the pitch," the statement said. "His embassy has been informed. As a consequence of his actions, and as is standard practice, his Hayya Card has been canceled and he has been banned from attending future matches at this tournament."
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