Interior minister says police acted appropriately in brawl with soccer hooligans

NEWS 23.05.2022 20:08
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Source: N1

Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Monday that police officers who were attacked by Hajduk's football fans on Saturday at the Split-Zagreb motorway's Desinec rest area had responded in accordance with the rules, and he ruled out any "faulty risk assessment," state agency Hina said on Monday.

Bozinovic said that Saturday’s incident “must be condemned” underscoring that no violence is acceptable.

“As Interior Minister, I consider any violence against police officers to be totally unacceptable. They are here to protect the peace and order. We know that this was a high-risk match but not high risk because of the police,” said Bozinovic.

He underscored that the police did everything according to plan however, the police officers, escorting the buses and vehicles transporting the fans from Zagreb to Split, were exposed to an attack by hooligans and they responded by respecting the rules and in line with the law.

The minister pointed out the poor communication between clubs and fans, saying that football should be in the focus. “If necessary, the police will initiate those talks. We cannot discuss sports at gunpoint,” he added.

Police chief Nikola Milina also said on Monday that the police did their job well.

The incident happened at 2130 hours Saturday, when about 1,600 fans who were being transported in buses, vans and personal cars abruptly stopped at the Desinec rest area.

Hundreds of the fans then violently turned against a score police officers who had been at the site at that moment. The disorderly crowd was throwing stones, chains, glass and other objects at the police. Some of the rioting supporters hurled a torch close to the nearby filling station, which posed an additional risk for the lives of the crowd and the police.

This made the police fire warning shots in the air and also at the concrete floor. In this incident, two of those rioting fans sustained shotgun wounds. One of them who had his leg wounded is being treated in the Karlovac hospital, while the other got a bullet graze. None of those two wounded men is in a life threatening condition.

The local prosecutor said on Sunday that an onsite investigation had been conducted.

During the incident, the motorway had to be closed to traffic, and the HAC operator on Sunday condemned the violence at the motorway and apologised to the general public for the suspension of traffic at that part of the motorway until 1000 hrs Sunday.

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