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World Cup Pitch Invader Waves Pride Flag While Chased by Security

Mario Ferri running with pride flag

The runner said he did it to send "important messages" about human rights.


A pitch invader showing support for LGBTQ+ rights, women's rights in Iran, and Ukraine interrupted a World Cup match on Monday between Portugal and Uruguay.

Waving a rainbow flag, the runner, identified as Mario Ferri by the Independent, ran across the field at the Lusail Iconic Stadium at the World Cup in Qatar.

The incident happened in the 51st minute of the game, CNN reports.

Ferri wrote on social media, "I'M BACK." He added that he "wanted to send out important messages."

He also said on an Instagram story that there were "No Legal consequences, I am free."

Images taken of Ferri show him wearing a blue shirt with the words "SAVE UKRAINE" on the front with "RESPECT FOR IRANIAN WOMAN" on the back.

The 35-year-old Italian has run onto pitches at past World Cup games, according to the Independent.

LGBTQ+ rights have been a major point of tension at the games as Qatar, the host country, criminalizes sex between men and has reportedly maliciously detained queer people. Several fans have reportedly been told to remove rainbow-colored items before being allowed into the stadium by security. An American journalist, Grant Wahl, said he was detained for about 25 minutes for wearing a pro-LGBTQ+ rights t-shirt.

Qatar has pushed back at the criticisms and has said that "everyone is welcome" at the World Cup, according to CNN.

Ukraine has been under constant fire since Russia invaded the country last February. Russian forces have bombarded Ukraine's power structure as winter sets in. Those attacks have left millions without power.

For months now, Iran has seen protests against the country's government. The demonstrations began after the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, while detained by the country's so-called morality police. She had been arrested for allegedly disobeying Iran's headscarf requirement. As part of the protests, women in Iran have been taking off their headscarves while demonstrating.

Related: How a Pro-LGBTQ+ Rights Armband Became World Cup Drama in Qatar

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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