An American fan said he was escorted out of Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar on Tuesday ahead of the United States’ match with Iran for wearing a rainbow armband.
American Brian Davis told Danish journalist Rasmus Tantholdt that security at the gates to enter the stadium told him his arm band was fine to wear. It was later that guards confronted him at his seat,“twisted my arm” and “were very aggressive.”
He was then escorted out of the stadium.
It’s unclear if he was allowed back in.
The incident is just the latest of its kind at the World Cup so far. A pair of American journalists said they were told to remove rainbow-patterned articles of clothing by authorities at venues. Los Angeles Times reporter Kevin Baxter said he was told a rainbow-colored face mask wasn’t allowed at the USMNT’s training site.
Then, before the USMNT's 1-1 draw with Wales, journalist Grant Wahl said he was briefly detained by security over a rainbow shirt he was wearing. Wahl said he was held for about a half hour, and that a security guard "forcibly ripped my phone from my hands." He was eventually let into the stadium.
LGBTQ rights have been a major focus of the World Cup in Qatar, a country with a poor human rights record where homosexuality is criminalized. FIFA and other organizers have promised that LGTBQ fans and players would be welcome, but issues have arisen repeatedly throughout the tournament. Seven European teams even stopped plans to wear rainbow anti-discrimination captains' armbands after FIFA threatened them with "sporting sanctions." FIFA also reportedly demanded that Belgium remove the word "love" from the collar of their jerseys.
A protester interrupted a match between Portugal and Uruguay on Monday night by running onto the field with a rainbow flag and a shirt supporting both Iranian protesters and Ukraine, too.
The US led Iran 1-0 at halftime.