Iranian police clash with anti-Saudi fans at game

Iranian police on Tuesday clashed with protesters demonstrating

against Saudi Arabia during a match between Iran’s Piroozi team and

the Saudi al-Ittihad club.

The 200 protesters, out of a crowd of 10,000, chanted ”death to

Saudi,” objecting to the role of Saudi armed forces in the bloody

crackdown by the Bahraini monarchy on its Shiite subjects over the

past months.

Iran’s Piroozi team, meanwhile, won the match 3-2, with two

goals by Hamid Reza Ali Asgari, in the 13th and 68th minute and one

by Shpejtim Arifi in the 16th minute.

Al-Ittihad’s Mohammed al-Rashid and Sekou Berthe scored in the

19th minute and during injury time in the second half,

respectively.

The game was part of the Group C competition of the Asia

Champions League, but also took place between two regional

powerhouses on either side of the Middle East’s deep Sunni-Shiite

divide.

An eyewitness told The Associated Press that two protesters were

seriously injured. The Fars News Agency added that several

protesters were detained.

Police expelled the protesters from the match in the middle of

the second half.

The unrest in Bahrain, which erupted in February, has played out

against the region’s deep rivalries between Shiite and Sunni

Muslims. Protesters from Bahrain’s Shiite majority have demanded

that the kingdom’s Sunni minority rulers grant them equal rights

and a political voice.

Saudi Arabia, a largely Sunni nation, has rushed to the aid of

Bahrain, while other Gulf countries have accused predominantly

Shiite Iran of meddling in Bahrain’s affairs by allegedly trying to

stir Shiite unrest there.