Friday, October 2, 2009

Fans chant 'Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein' at soccer derby

As Tehran's two rival teams, Esteghlal in blue and Persepolis (Pirouzi) in red, battled it out on the pitch of Azadi Stadium, fans could be heard chanting opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi's name in the final minutes of the match.

While 'Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein' rang through the stands, other fans could be heard shouting, 'We don't want soccer mixed with politics.' (Footballeh ba siasat nemikhaim, nemikhaim!), perhaps referring to previous chants of 'Collusion, collusion!' ('Tabani, tabani!') and charges that the two teams had somehow fixed the 1-1 tie. Esteghlal and Persepolis's past six games have ended with ties. But perhaps some of those who had attended the match did not favor using the venue to protest the regime. Donyayeh Football magazine was shut down this week for reporting that security forces had reserved 30,000 tickets for regime supporters.

The image on the live broadcast appears to lag the sound by about 30 seconds:

Fans continued chanting Mir Hossein Mousavi's name as they left the stadium:

The greens had called on their supporters to attend the match, publishing fliers and posters. One poster played on the two teams' names with the slogan: 'Our Iran, our independence (Esteghlal, which is also the name of the blue team), our victory (Pirouzi, which is also the name of the red team.).'

The regime had warned protesters to stay away, citing a heavy security deployment and even spreading rumors about the presence of two judges in the stadium to bring any offenders to immediate justice.