Iran protests: Prominent actresses arrested, football team refuses to sing national anthem at World Cup

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaNov 21, 2022 | 19:41

Iran protests: Prominent actresses arrested, football team refuses to sing national anthem at World Cup

The government-opposing anti-hijab demonstrations in Iran have been going on for more than two months now. The protests entered their fourteenth week, this week, and things are bloodier than ever.

What is happening now? According to reports, amid the ongoing turmoil in Iran, two popular Iranian actresses Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi were arrested today (November 21) for publicly expressing solidarity with anti-government protests in the country.


Both of them were accused of collusion and acting against Iran's authorities and were detained after being summoned by prosecutors probing their "provocative" social media posts.

Maybe this will be my last post. From this moment on, whatever happens to me, know that as always, I am with the Iranian people until my last breath.
- Hengameh Ghaziani wrote on her Instagram.

What was their 'crime'?

  • Ghaziani was bareheaded, facing the camera without speaking and then turning around and binding her hair into a ponytail. She removed her headscarf on a busy street, in a video, which appears to have been filmed in a shopping street. 
Photo: Hengameh Ghaziani (Getty Images)
  • Riahi, 60, was arrested for appearing in an interview in September on London-based Iran International TV without wearing a hijab. Iran International TV is an outlet despised by the regime, AFP reported.

The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), which is also headquartered outside the nation, reported that 15,820 demonstrators have been jailed and that 344 people have died, including 52 children.

Iran Football Captain Ehsan Hajsafi speaks up in support of the protestors

Ehsan Hajsafi, the captain of the football team of Iran, has stated that he would be pleased to see his team act as a catalyst for change in a nation where demonstrations against the Tehran government are only becoming worse.

Whatever we have is from them. We have to fight. We have to perform and score some goals to present the brave people of Iran with a result. I hope conditions change as to the expectations of the people. 
- Ehsan Hajsafi

"We must acknowledge that things are not right in our nation and that the people are not content. Despite the fact that we are present, we must still respect them and be their voice." He added. 

After his statement, the Iranian footballers showed support to the protesters by refusing to sing the national anthem during their teams's group-stage match of FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Monday.

What is the government's reaction? 

The organisers of the "riots," according to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, failed to rally the protestors. 

Since the demonstrators "are too inferior to be able to harm the establishment," the authoritarian dictator declared on Saturday that the "riots" will end. 

A newspaper with a cover picture of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's "morality police" is seen in Tehran (Reuters)

"Now that the organisers have failed to get the people to the scene, they want to tyre the officials, but they are mistaken since these mischiefs make the people detest them more," Khamenei remarked in a speech during a meeting with a group of individuals from the central city of Esfahan.


How did the protests start in Iran?

Protests started in Iran after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the infamous morality police of the country. She was arrested for not wearing her hijab properly, and she died on September 16, 2022. Her death led to protests huge protests from the capital Tehran to small cities like Karaj and later moved to toher parts of the country. 

Last updated: November 21, 2022 | 19:41
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