Brazilian journalist's 'phone seized' by Qatar police after regional flag mistaken for LGBTQ one

Credit: Twitter / Ovictorpereira

A journalist reporting on the World Cup in Qatar has claimed local police hassled him outside a stadium after apparently mistaking his regional Brazilian flag for an LGBTQ pride one.

Victor Pereira said authorities seized his phone after he filmed a man's negative response to his colourful flag - depicting a rainbow with a red cross and a star - of Brazil's north-eastern Pernambuco state.

Mr Pereira told Reuters that a man mistakenly believed it was the LGBTQ community's rainbow flag as he left the Lusail Stadium following Saudi Arabia's unexpected victory over Argentina.

He claimed the man "stomped" on the flag after throwing it on the ground, and alleged his phone was "grabbed" from his hand, Reuters reports.

Mr Pereira said he complied with the order because he needs his phone for work.

Other people were also seen being confronted by Qatari authorities, with some Brazilian supporters reportedly having the Pernambuco flag seized from them.

Qatar has come under increased scrutiny since being awarded the 2022 tournament in controversial circumstances, with focus on its treatment of women, LGBT+ people and migrant workers.

England were initially expecting to be fined for the armbands but were willing to pay. Credit: PA

Fans have reported having rainbow items, including T-shirts and Wales bucket hats, confiscated by officials in Qatar, a country where same-sex relationships are criminalised, during the tournament. A Danish television journalist was also approached by police and told he could not wear a “One Love” rainbow-coloured armband while reporting in the country.

England and Wales were among the European nations to back down from wearing the OneLove armband, intended as a protest at all forms of discrimination at the World Cup in Qatar.

The decision, which reversed their previous stance of vowing to wear the armband, came after they were warned by FIFA they would face sporting sanctions, such as being issued with yellow cards, for doing so.

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