Police want to stop violence after Union Berlin against Feyenoord


BERLIN (AP) – Police in Berlin were on alert for fan violence on Thursday after Union Berlin’s Europa League game against Dutch team Feyenoord.

Police made at least 74 arrests in the run-up to the game, which Feyenoord won 2-1, and maintained a highly visible presence in and around the stadium to keep rival fans apart.

“With the final score, it’s the nature of things that some are happy and some aren’t. In order to channel these emotions somewhat, our emergency teams will also ensure that the fan groups are separated for the start, ”Berlin police said on Twitter.

Despite a pyrotechnics ban during the match, it started under a cloud of smoke from flares set off before kick-off by visiting supporters. Feyenoord supporters lit more flares once the match started, which contributed to more smoke, and they were quickly confronted with a riot police line.

About 2,000 officers were on duty for the match.

There had been unrest and an attack on the Union team delegation for the teams’ previous match in Rotterdam.

Some 5,000 visiting supporters started arriving in the German capital on Wednesday. Police made 71 arrests on Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning for offenses such as riots and other unrest after fans drank heavily in various parts of the city.

Two Feyenoord fans were apprehended after painting their team’s name on the East Side Gallery, an outdoor art collection on the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall. It was quickly repainted in gray by Union supporters who wrote “Ultra Union! This was then covered up by fans of Hertha Berlin.

Police have prevented rival fans from assembling for planned fights at Treptower Park and Tempelhof, police spokesman Martin Dams told The Associated Press.

“They were prepared for violence,” Dams said.

There were further arrests shortly before kickoff. Berlin police said a fan was apprehended for setting off a flare at Rominter Allee near the stadium, and two others were arrested for allegedly resisting and attacking emergency service personnel.

There were announcements in Dutch and German reminding fans that pyrotechnics are not allowed. Heavy rains allowed supporters to move forward fairly quickly. Police in riot gear maintained a highly visible presence in the metro until the game.

Police said the Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz metro station was full of smoke, a train had to be replaced at Alexanderplatz due to a destroyed door, and fans set off more fireworks in the process. road.

“We have a lot of understanding for the football fans who are looking forward to their team’s game. We don’t know if crimes are being committed and if passers-by are hampered or even endangered, ”police said on Twitter in German and Dutch.

The Berlin Senate on Wednesday gave the green light to 30,000 spectators to attend the match at the Olympiastadion, which is usually home to Union rival Hertha. The Union are using the stadium because their own in the eastern district of Köpenick does not have enough seats to meet UEFA’s requirements.

The Union has deployed 800 stewards to assist with security, the most it has ever had in a game.

Union lost when visiting Feyenoord 3-1 on October 21, but that match was overshadowed by the attack on the Union team delegation, including club president Dirk Zingler, the day before, followed by what he called “brutal police violence” against his fans on match day.

“Unfortunately, many of us did not feel welcome in Rotterdam,” Zingler wrote in the program for the Union match against Bayern Munich last Saturday. “It started the day before the match with the attack on the employees and the official delegation of our club. … On match day there were serious organizational shortcomings, perhaps even deliberately on the part of the host club, which caused many Unioners to miss much of the game.

Zingler also referred to reports of police violence which led some Union supporters to be taken to hospital for treatment.

“We’ve never experienced anything like this at this point before, and we won’t let it die out,” Zingler said, adding that his club “is pressing for an explanation.”

Union finished Thursday’s game with nine players following the expulsions in the dying minutes of captain Christopher Trimmel, who had scored a fine equalizer, and Cédric Teuchert. Luis Sinisterra and Cyriel Dessers scored for Feyenoord.

The match sold out with 30,000 supporters, making it the biggest European competition ever organized by the Union. The club had to close two sections of the stadium as a sanction from UEFA for the anti-Semitic behavior of some of its supporters towards supporters of Israeli team Maccabi Haifa on September 30.


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Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

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