NEWS
Saturday November 30 2013
Lazio fans accuse Warsaw police

Controversy is growing over the 149 Lazio fans arrested in Warsaw, as 107 are still being held and accused police of “tricking” them.

The supporters were arrested in the hours leading up to Thursday’s 2-0 Europa League victory against Legia Warsaw.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, 42 of them have been released and around 20 of those were not even fined.

The others remain under arrest in Poland more than 48 hours after the incidents, spread out around 11 different police stations in Warsaw.

It is believed that only three were actually charged with attacking police officers, as they were responsible for throwing bottles during the march towards the stadium.

Those three have already been fined €1,700 and released for their return to Italy, but the others are still being held for minor offences such as disturbing the peace.

Questions are being asked in the Italian Parliament as to why their citizens are being held for several days without being charged, especially as the incidents were minor.

It’s reported Lazio ultras are raising money to help pay legal fees and transport for those fans still in Warsaw.

“The police stopped us because we were singing in the street,” accused one fan in the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“We got away with a fine for €50, otherwise they said they would’ve kept us in prison for 30 days. We were a little afraid, but were treated well.”

Another told the Corriere dello Sport “we were at the Hard Rock Cafe and asked for the police to accompany us to the stadium in order to avoid clashes with the local fans. The police opened up a pathway, but suddenly took us into a blind alley.

“They held us there for no reason for two hours, vans blocking the exits, and searched us one by one. We hadn’t done anything! When we arrived at the stadium, we were searched again twice and given alcohol tests while we were all photographed.

“There were fathers and sons, women and pensioners. We only got into the game at the end of the first half after walking 5km, as they wouldn’t give us any transport. Some went with a taxi, but they were dropped off outside the Legia Warsaw end and that was a huge danger.

“They only spoke English, but we stayed calm, because we could tell the police were just waiting for a spark... Lazio sold 750 tickets, but there were only 400 of us in the stadium. It was an absolute shame and we were held in there until 23.45, when we were allowed to leave four at a time.

“Some of our friends are still in the police cells. They took their phones, so their parents are frantically calling us for information. Any group of more than five people together was taken into the police cells. There were roadblocks everywhere and I saw young girls shoved around.

“The local hooligans were also coming up to us and asking for fights, but we didn’t respond to the provocation. Nobody reports that!”

Another in the Corriere dello Sport claimed he “saw 70 or 80 people pinned down and handcuffed. The police started beating them up, but nobody had knives or weapons. I only saw someone at the very front throwing a bottle towards a van, that was it.

“Some of us didn’t even go to the stadium, because the situation was just too dangerous. We went back to the hotel for our own safety and couldn’t wait to get home.”

The father of one of those held, David D’Ario, even revealed he was arrested despite not being a Lazio fan. “He was just there visiting with some friends on vacation. He has a hearing impediment, so doesn’t always understand what’s going on.”

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