Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tabriz soccer victory triggers protests

Jubilation following the victory of a local soccer team led to demonstrations for minority rights in Tabriz, East Azerbaijan province, on Tuesday, May 25, 2010.

The game between Tabriz City Hall (Shahrdari Tabriz) and Kaveh, a team from Tehran, ended with a goal by the home team in the final seconds of overtime, clinching a 2-1 victory and all but guaranteeing the ascension of Shahrdari from the second division to the premier league next season. Some of the over 20,000 cheering spectators at Takhti stadium, also known as Baghshomal, rushed onto the field after the game ended.

View Tabriz - Takhti (Baghshomal) Stadium - 25 May 2010 in a larger map

The celebrations seeped into the streets surrounding the stadium, northwest of Tabriz University, and the cries of joy soon gave way to chants demanding, among other things, the right to teach the Azeri language in local schools.

The following footage shows the street protest. Plainclothesmen can be seen arresting at least one protester at the tail end of the cortege (2:12 mark).