Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Mar. 06 – Iranian security officers forcefully removed several hundred women spectators from an indoor stadium as they were watching athletes performing in the 2006 Gymnastics World Cup tournament being held in Tehran, eye-witnesses reported. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Mar. 06 – Iranian security officers forcefully removed several hundred women spectators from an indoor stadium as they were watching athletes performing in the 2006 Gymnastics World Cup tournament being held in Tehran, eye-witnesses reported.

The action took place on the opening day of the tournaments as fans gathered in Tehran’s 12,000-seater Azadi indoor stadium to watch the international gymnasts compete.

Little more than 10 minutes after the start of the games, intelligence officials from the government’s sports institution entered the stalls of the arena and demanded that all women exit the facility.

Among those asked to leave were several female translators for the international teams that were competing on the day.

As the roughly 250 women were being led out, a number began to protest loudly and chanted slogans against gender inequality in the Islamic Republic.

Some international athletes took photos of the women being forced out.

On Wednesday, Iran’s State Security Forces attacked female football fans in Tehran after they held a defiant protest against the government decision to ban women from football stadiums.

Dozens of young women, who had bought tickets and hoped to cheer on their national team, were all banned from entering Tehran’s 100,000-seater open-air Azadi Stadium.

After being refused entry into the stands, the women organised a demonstration outside the stadium and quickly brought to the scene banners which read, “Azadi Stadium: 100,000 men-only arena” and “We also want to cheer on our national team”.

The ban on women watching male athletes performing in stadiums has been in force for years, but a few dozen women have challenged it in recent months. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hard-line government recently decided to enforce the ban more stringently.

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