In an Instagram story, an Iranian man urged his followers to keep protesting no matter the outcome of Iran’s match against England at the men’s World Cup on Tuesday.
Hours later, 27-year-old Mehran Samak was reportedly shot and killed while celebrating the team’s loss during anti-government protests, according to Iranian activists and journalists.
After the Iranian team’s defeat and subsequent elimination from the men’s World Cup on Tuesday, anti-government protesters across Iran took to the streets to celebrate the outcome, with many seeing it as a blow against the regime.
According to local reports, security forces began firing at protesters in several cities including Bandar Anzali. Samak was allegedly in his car, honking to celebrate the team’s defeat, when he was killed in the crackdown, the UK-based news channel Iran International reported. Semafor has been unable to independently confirm Samak’s death.
Activists shared a screenshot purporting to show an Instagram story that Samak had uploaded hours before his death. The story asked for people not to fret over whether the Iranian soccer team would sing the national anthem, but urged people to keep on protesting.
“Tonight, regardless of any event or the end result, let’s just be together,” the post said, as seen on the screenshot shared by activists.
Iranian citizens are continuing their months-long protests over the death of Masha Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died after being detained by Iran’s morality police for not properly wearing her hijab.
On Monday, the Iranian government acknowledged that at least 300 protesters have been killed by security forces since the demonstrations began in September, but human rights groups say at least 451 have died, according to NPR. More than 18,000 demonstrators have also been arrested.
A previous version of this story said that a viral video showed Mehran Samak celebrating the Iranian team’s loss. It is unclear if the video in question showed that.