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Despite IOC ban, Rio crowds get their political messages across

The Olympics aren't meant to be a place for political expression — the International Olympic Committee (IOC) makes that abundantly clear.

However, as the events have progressed over the last week and a half, many people have managed to get their messages across.

At a volleyball match on Sunday, one damning slogan made it into the crowd. "Let Iranian women into the stadiums," Darya Safai's sign said, referencing the fact that women have mostly been banned from all-male sports events in the country since 1979's Islamic Revolution.

Security teams attempted to remove her during the Egypt vs. Iran preliminary, but she refused to leave and spent the whole game holding up the sign, the BBC reports. She plans to be at every Iran match.

"It hurts to explain again and again that this peaceful action is not a political message, but a positive message of peace and human rights," Safai said.

Another message that's been seen frequently during the games is "Fora Temer," or "Out With Temer," a reference to Brazil's interim president, Michel Temer.

Temer has been in power in Brazil since the previous president, Dilma Rousseff, was stripped of her duties and subjected to an impeachment trial less that halfway through her elected mandate in May. 

Rousseff was re-elected less than two years ago and enjoyed approval ratings of 80 percent before her triumph, but has since been mired in the ongoing trial, which she refers to as a "coup."

The people holding the anti-Temer banners are also angry at his government's initiatives to loosen labor laws and reform the pension system, the Buenos Aires Herald reports. Six unions have called for protests Tuesday, the paper adds.

Chants of "Fora Temer" and "No to the coup" have been heard at events from the opening ceremony onwards.

"No room for misogyny and machismo, on the field or in the President's office," one was captioned, loosely translated.

Some of the spectators were initially ejected but a judge has since ruled that peaceful political protests should be allowed. Their removal from the games was an infringement of their freedom of expression, Judge Joao Augusto Carneiro Araujo said.

On Sunday, several protestors also broke through barriers to try and disrupt the women's marathon.

The next day, protestors took to the streets to speak out about "rape culture" in Brazil and some sexual attacks that have allegedly taken place in the Olympic Village.

IOC spokesman Mario Andrada (whose name might be familiar from the green water fiasco) told reporters that political propaganda is prohibited. "Those who make political statements in the venues are requested not to. If they resist, they are kindly requested to leave," he said. "This is a venue for sports. They need to be focused on that."

However, the games and protests have always gone hand in hand. From the U.S.-led boycott of the 1984 games in Moscow (and the Eastern Bloc boycott of Los Angeles' 1984 games in response) to Pussy Riot's arrest in Sochi, the two are rarely unentangled.

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