Protest against police brutality: Football fans boycott matches

Fans boycott matches of the Belarusian championship and want the police to refrain from unlawful acts.

The word boycott is associated with the latest political campaigns in Belarus. Sport is like politics for young people, and it has the same problems, Belsat reports.

Riot police ordered a fan of Dinamo Minsk to leave the stadium during a game between Dinamo and Gomel because the national coat of arms Pahonia (Chaser) was depicted on his scarf. Under law, fans with banned symbols cannot attend games, but Pahonia coat of arms is not banned.

“The latest matches with the participation of Dinamo Minsk were shadowed by another series of ungrounded detentions of fans, as well as fines and sentencing people to short terms in custody. After the game with Slutsk, three Dinamo fans were detained for no reasons under popular article No.17.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences (disorderly conduct) before the eyes of players and club managers. A fan with an ordinary tattoo on his arm was detained near Tractor Stadium after the match with Gomel and sentenced to 10 days in custody. We, active fans, announce a boycott to the fan section at both home and away matches in Belarus,” fans’ website zum.by reports.

“You must remember and understand that you may be declared a criminal and thrown behind bars at any moment,” they wrote in an appeal. “We’d like to appeal to our team. Guys, we are with you. We will support you under any circumstances! You should know at every match that you have a huge army of people behind you. We support you even if are not in the stadium. Hope for your understanding.

Fans of our club! Stop attending the stadium, do not allow making you a criminal! Look for comfortable places in the city to watch games!

Take care of yourselves!”

Siarhei Palitsevich, Dinamo’s central defender, says the boycott is the right decision.

“We played with Smolevichi-STI on Sunday. It was a part of the cup competition, but the atmosphere like at a training session. Fans do not want to go to the stadium through metal detectors. We can understand it. The boycott is perhaps the right decision,” he says.

As many as 34 fans were detained during a game between Slutsk and Shakhtyor. Fans later announced through Instagram that they joined the boycott of the team’s home matches.

“Taking into account the recent events, a joint decision not to attend home matches was taken. Our second home may be empty and closed for us today, but we will return sooner or later. The team will not be left without support at away matches,” they wrote.

Fans of Naftan Navapolatsk also decided not to attend the team’s home matches for an indefinite period. The decision was caused by inadequate actions by the police at all home matches, searches of active fans and ungrounded detentions. Fans, however, promise to support the team at away matches.

“It seems unreal for now to change the situation in the fan section. We have announced a boycott. The problem will be solved in the middle of October after the elections, and we will return. We hope ungrounded pressure will disappear,” a representative of Naftan’s fans says. According to him, safety stewards instead of policemen won’t change the situation.

“I think everything will be controlled by law-enforcement agencies anyway. Safety stewards work at Barysau Arena, but we see a lot of police nevertheless,” he thinks. Vitsebsk fans boycott home matches for the same reason – police brutality. Fans of Khimik Svetlahorsk also joined the boycott.

The Belarusian football championship has never seen such a low attendance. An average of 1457 people attended matches of the 14th round. Only 350 fans watched the game between Naftan and Minsk.

Quelle: Charter97.org, 24. Juli 2015

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