Iranian soccer team wears green bands

Dozens of supporters stage protest during World Cup qualifying match to condemn election results.

Iran football protest 2 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Iran football protest 2 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
At least five Iranian football players wore green bands around their wrists or arms during a World Cup qualifying match against South Korea on Wednesday in an apparent protest against a disputed election at home. The players, including captain Mehdi Mahdavikia, wore green - the signature color of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi - in an apparent show of support. Protesters at home who accuse the government of rigging Iran's June 12 election in favor of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been wearing similar green wristbands. One player, Ali Karimi, had green bands wrapped around both wrists. But by the second half, some had removed the green bands, which are not a regular part of their uniforms, amid speculation that they were ordered by their coach to do so. Mahdavikia kept his band on even during the second half. Fans from Iran also showed their support for the demonstrations at home by staging a protest outside the stadium. They unfurled a banner that read "Go to Hell Dictator," and chanted "Compatriots, we will be with you to the end with the same heart." During the match, protesters waved the banner, held up green paper signs reading "Where is my vote?" and waved Iran's national flags emblazed with the plea "Free Iran." Violent protests flared and allegations of voter fraud erupted in Iran following the announcement Saturday that Ahmadinejad had beaten Mousavi. The game in Seoul ended in a 1-1 draw.