26 persons were detained late on last Wednesday, while a number have been injured during the violence that broke out at the Partizan-Red Star football match. A large scale fight broke out in Partizan stadium’s south stands, resulting in the police escorting a group of battered young men, some of whom were stripped naked, outside the venue.
Unofficially, two groups of Partizan supporters fought among themselves, in an attempt to establish “supremacy in the stands.”
The Interior Ministry (MUP) announced this on Thursday, adding that it was ordered by the prosecution to identify the persons who took part in the incidents.
Among those injured in the fighting in Belgrade last night were several foreign nationals, the MUP said.
Unofficially, they came from Croatia, Greece, and Macedonia.
Three of the six Croats detained for taking part in a mass hooligan fight during the game were paid to do that. The daily Blic is reporting this on Friday, adding that one of them also carried “enough narcotics to put him in jail for several years.”
According to the newspaper, the three Croats, who came from the town of Split – Ante Firic and Damir Tovarovic among them – received EUR 10,000 to come to Belgrade and fight.
The paper’s source with the Interior Ministry (MUP) did not wish to reveal who made the payment, to avoid influencing the investigation.
Another Belgrade daily, Vecernje Novosti, writes on Friday that at least 100 people took part in organizing the fight that took place during the 156th football derby in the capital. According to this report, “some foreign services, whose members have lately significantly increased their presence in our country,” were also involved.
Ante Firic was seriously injured during the incidents and is now being treated at Belgrade’s military clinic VMA, for a stab wound in his back and a haematoma on his brain. According to available information, he has several convictions for racketeering, and is known in Croatia for brutally beating a restaurateur from the island of Hvar, Frano Zuvelo, along with his brother Sandro Firic.
The daily said that at least six Croatian citizens took part in the rioting, including Damir Tovarovic, a former Croatian martial arts champion.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic reacted to the violence in Belgrade by saying that “all those who took part organizing and causing it” would be held responsible, including any citizens of Croatia.
In Zagreb, the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry announced that four Croatian citizens participated in the rioting.