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2004-09-06

The ugly face 

(from Kathimerini, 'Greece's International English Language Newspaper'):
Murder, riots follow Greek soccer defeat
Albanian killed on Zakynthos

Albanian soccer fans wave flags in Omonia Square after Saturday night’s defeat of the Greek national squad by Albania in Tirana. Shortly afterward, groups of belligerent Greeks arrived at the central Athens square where huge crowds had gathered in June and July to celebrate Greece’s victories in the Euro 2004 championship. Riot police were called in, and used tear gas to disperse both parties. An Albanian man was stabbed to death and several more were injured during ugly after-dark brawls in Greece after Albania’s national soccer squad defeated the Greek side on Saturday during a World Cup qualifying match in Tirana.

In Athens, the government and opposition parties issued strongly worded condemnations of the violence yesterday. “Such acts run against the sporting spirit... which we honored when the Olympics were held in Greece,” government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said. Albanians represent the vast majority of the estimated 1 million immigrants living in Greece.

The worst incident was in the village of Tsilivi on the Ionian Sea island of Zakynthos, where a 20-year-old Albanian immigrant was killed and another two suffered non-life-threatening stab wounds during an attack early yesterday by a Greek man who objected to their celebrating Albania’s 2-1 upset of the reigning European champions. Police arrested 22-year-old Greek-American Panayiotis Kladis for the attack. Four Albanians and one Greek were treated for knife wounds in Athens after the match, although no arrests were made, and in Thessaloniki an 18-year-old Albanian was held for allegedly injuring two Greeks with a broken bottle. In Omonia Square, the central Athens landmark where Greek soccer fans traditionally flock to celebrate national or club-level victories, roles were reversed on Saturday night when a few hundred Albanians gathered to jubilate. A crowd of Greeks soon assembled with ugly intentions, and riot police stepped in, using tear gas to disperse both groups. In other incidents, Albanian supporters damaged seven cars near the Peloponnese railway station in Athens, while two cars with Albanian number plates were wrecked by Greeks in Thessaloniki.


(translated from Albanian daily Shekulli [AL]):
Six Albanians wounded and dozens of others hospitalized with fractures caused by the police
Greece, celebrations of the emigrants turn bloody

by Alin Metaj

Athens – Greece in chaos after the loss against Albania. Many Greek citizens, very upset after the game, took to the streets of the capital and attacked Albanian residents who were celebrating peacefully. The result of the attack on the Greek island of Zakinthos was one dead Albanian emigrant and six others wounded. At the same time two Greeks were lightly wounded by an Albanian citizen. Gramoz Palushi of Bushtrica in Kukes is the Albanian who was killed as a consequence of the violent knife-attack perpetrated by Greek-American Panaiotis Kladis. In a report of Greek media the Albanians also accused the paramedics who allegedly provided medical aid to the victim only with delay, and the victim then died. Violent confrontations also occurred in other towns such as Athens and Thessaloniki. In all cases, the police favoured the barbarities of the Greek population and even themselves injured Albanian residents who were celebrating peacefully. Almost all cars of Albanians were attacked by Greek citizens and were destroyed or damaged. Yesterday the situation calmed down. There is still no official statement regarding the tragic event of Zakinthos, but deputies of both large Greek parties condemned it on Greek television, as well as other incidents, emphasising that they have no relation to the friendship and good relations between the two peoples and the two communities, which need to be cultivated with patience and in a constant manner. On the island of Zakinthos, in the village of Tsivili the Greek citizen Panaoitis Kladis killed the Albanian emigrant Gramoz Palushi and injured the brother of the victim and another Albanian. Upset about the result of the match and about the voices of the Albanian emigrants who were celebrating the victory, Kladis came out of his house with a knife in his hand and attacked the three Albanians. ... Also in Athens the Albanians were not allowed to celebrate on Saturday evening. The events came as a shock to the Greek public opinion, as it was seen how the human rights of people who were celebrating were stopped in a brutal manner by the police and by residents. The Greek police used rubber sticks and tear gas to keep the Albanians who wanted to celebrate peacefully away from Omonia square. The MAT special Greek forces were used … With unseen violence they dispersed the Albanian emigrants and didn’t allow them to celebrate. Under the pretext that there could be clashes between Greek and Albanian fans, the special forces all over Greece prevented in brutal manner that groups of emigrants assemble in the squares of the towns. For hours, Omonia square was turned into a battle-field between the emigrants, who approached the square with Albanian flags, and the police forces.

Meanwhile, one British fan was hospitalised after clashes in Vienna following the match between Austria and England, which ended in a draw.


3 comments:

Glad you mentioned the trouble in Austria. After all it is imperative to maintain the fiction that all hooligans are English.
 

Gawain, just for the record, that all hooligans are from country X is certainly not something I claim or want to maintain. The British fan will hardly have hurt himself btw.
 

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