Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Banner at Soccer Match: "Rome is Fascist"

Well, there you go. Not subtle. Banners "with huge swastikas and the words, "Rome is Fascist" that appeared during clashes with police at Sunday's soccer match" in Rome. It's a typically European combination of extremist politics and soccer fanaticism.

Lazio fans identify with the Right and consider the Livorno team leftists. Along with chanting "Jews! Jews!" as an insult against the Livorno players, they also screamed "Fedayin!" – referring to the presumed pro-Palestinian sympathies of the "leftists" from Livorno.

And it's not a joke. 85 police were injured in the melee. The "ultras" as they are called are "organized themselves "into a hierarchy with politicized leaders," said Chief Inspector de Franco, adding that they were united more by extremist political conditioning than by their love of soccer."

And don't think that the leftist were sweet harmless pacifists either. "But the violence is not monopolized by rightists. It is instigated and carried out by extremists on both sides of the political spectrum."