Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi received a hero’s welcome on her return to Tehran on Wednesday, after competing in South Korea without wearing a headscarf, mandatory for female athletes from the Islamic Republic. She was a participant in the International Federation of Sport Climbing’s Asian Championships.

Pictures and videos shared on social media platforms showed a large crowd at Imam Khomeini international airport outside Tehran to welcome the 33-year-old. Concerns were raised for the climber when she reportedly went missing after competing in Seoul.

Many took her public appearance without a headscarf as a sign of solidarity with the ongoing women-led protests in Iran over the custodial death of Mahsa Amini who was detained by the country’s morality police for not wearing a hijab.

However, after the competition, Rekabi, in an Instagram account attributed to her, issued an apology saying she competed without a hijab “accidentally”.