Football fans disrupt Serbia game with Srebrenica Chants
Archive photograph of Partizan supporters in Belgrade in June 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / ANDREJ CUKIC.
The referee of a Sunday night game between Novi Pazar FC and Belgrade club Partizan FC temporarily halted play because Partizan supporters chanted Ratko Mladic’s name and a slogan celebrating the 1995 massacres of Bosnians from Srebrenica.
The match was played in Novi Pazar in southern Serbia, a city mainly inhabited by people of Bosnian descent. Around the 60th minute, Partizan fans started chanting Mladic’s name and “Noz, zica, Srebrenica” (“Knife, thread, Srebrenica”).
Novi Pazar’s players did not want to continue the game, but after a 38-minute stoppage, the game resumed after Partizan supporters were kicked out of the stadium. There has been no public announcement of any arrests related to the incident.
Singing about Mladic and Srebrenica is nothing new in Serbian football, where there have long been links between die-hard fans and ultra-nationalism.
At the World Cup in Russia in June 2018, when Serbia faced Switzerland, a group of supporters appeared at the stadium wearing T-shirts with a portrait of Mladic and allegedly chanted “Kill the Albanians”.
They were furious at two Swiss players of Kosovo Albanian descent who made Albanian double-headed eagle symbols with their hands when they scored, and after the match the Serbian nationalist fans in Vienna chanted “Noz, zica, Srebrenica ”.
In March 2017, Red Star Belgrade and Partizan supporters publicly congratulated Mladic on his birthday. Red Star Belgrade fans sang Mladic’s name and displayed a banner with a ‘Happy Birthday’ greeting, while a banner displayed by Partizan fans said: “Your years have given Serbia everything, happy birthday General. “
A report from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance in 2017 said that when hundreds of Red Star supporters traveled to Novi Pazar for matches in March and August 2016, they chanted that they wanted a “new Srebrenica” and shouted slogans like “Kill!” Slaughter! A citizen of Novi Pazar should not exist!
Partizan fans also chanted “Noz, Zica, Srebrenica” during their club’s match in Novi Pazar in 2012.
The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague confirmed in June Ratko Mladic’s life sentence for the genocide of Bosnians in Srebrenica, among other war crimes.