Thirty five injured as Croatian police open fire in clash with football fans in Zagreb

Police have detained 43 people who are facing charges of inciting unrest

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Sunday 22 May 2022 18:50
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<p>Croatian police open fire in clash with football fans in Zagreb</p>

Croatian police open fire in clash with football fans in Zagreb

At least 35 people have been injured after outnumbered Croatian police officers opened fire during clashes with football fans following a match in the capital.

Four fans suffered bullet wounds with one seriously wounded during the violence late on Saturday, which transpired after hundreds of fans attacked police with iron bars, bats and flares, authorities said.

More than 260 cars and buses were transporting Hajduk Split fans under police escort after their team lost 3-1 to Dinamo Zagreb. Split is Croatia’s second-largest city and holds a fierce rivalry with the capital’s team.

Police had barred Split fans from entering Zagreb’s stadium with flares and banners.

About 2,000 fans refused to enter the stadium and remained outside throughout the match, police said.

Croatian police officers had barred Split fans from entering Zagreb’s stadium with flares and banners

As they were travelling back to Split, which is about 22 miles south of Zagreb, a group of fans blocked traffic and started attacking officers on a section of road on the outskirts of the capital, officers said.

The road is the main Croatian highway leading from Zagreb to the Adriatic Sea coast. Police said the fans ignored orders to disperse.

“There were no signs something like this could happen,” Damir Baric, a senior police official in charge of public security, said.

“They blocked traffic, suddenly ran out of their vehicles and advanced on the police who were 10 times outnumbered.”

Zagreb police chief Marko Rasic said that three officers tried to find shelter inside a police van, but the fans hurled a burning flare inside the vehicle forcing them to evacuate.

He said the three police officers discharged their firearms, shooting about two dozen shots mainly into the air but also into the ground.

These bullets apparently ricocheted and wounded the attackers, he said.

Police have detained 43 people who are facing charges of inciting unrest that carries prison sentences from six months to five years if convicted.

They said that the road remained closed for much of the night and early morning on Sunday.

There were several other incidents reported during and before Saturday’s match, including a fire in the stands where Dinamo fans were located after their flares ignited their huge banner. It caused a 10-minute delay in the second half.

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