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35 Injured As Football Fans, Police Clash In Croatia

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A clash between police and hundreds of football fans in central Croatia left 35 people injured, most of whom were officers, officials said on Sunday.

Fighting broke out late Saturday as police escorted some 1,600 Hajduk Split “Torcida” fans returning home to the central coastal town of Split after a match against arch-rivals Dinamo Zagreb in the Croatian capital.

The clash happened after the convoy suddenly stopped, blocked the Zagreb-Split highway traffic and several hundred fans attacked officers, police official Damir Baric told reporters.

At least two Hajduk Split hardcore fans sustained wounds from officers’ firearms but the injuries were not life-threatening, police said.

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“The attack was carried out in a rather aggressive way, with bottles, stones, chains, tables, fire extinguishers… torches”, Baric said.
As fans refused to obey police orders, officers fired several shots into the air and the road as a warning to stop, he said.

According to Zagreb police head Marko Rasic, police believe the two fans sustained ricochet gunshot injuries.

A total of 20 officers were wounded and police arrested 43 fans so far.

Hajduk Split fans who travelled to Zagreb for the match eventually did not attend as they were not allowed to bring in banners and other props.

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Authorities closed the section of the road where the clash took place to traffic overnight and Sunday morning.

Dinamo Zagreb had already secured the national league title before winning Saturday’s game, the last in this season’s national championship, 3-1.

Hajduk Split was the runner-up.
Croatia is known for the success of its national team but also for its hooligans who are among Europe’s most notorious.

AFP

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