by Compiled from Wire Services
Apr 26, 2015 12:00 am
Thirty-five police officers were hurt and 41 fans arrested in a violent Belgrade derby between Red Star and Partizan on Saturday. "Hooligan behavior has led to slight injuries to 35 police officers," the Serbian Ministry of the Interior said in a statement. "Police reacted professionally and efficiently, quelling a conflict started by fans which could have led to calling the game off and other serious consequences. "Before, during and after the game, 41 individuals were arrested and police also turned back a van from [the northern city of] Zrenjanin loaded with rocks and bricks."
The match ended in a 0-0 draw that left league leaders Partizan five points clear of second-place Red Star with six matches remaining.
The start of the game, which has a long history of crowd trouble, was delayed for 45 minutes after home Red Star fans pelted riot police with seats and flares, forcing officers to retreat from the north tier that houses the club's diehard fans.When reinforcements arrived police returned to the terraces and pushed the supporters back.
One area of the north tier was emptied and when the match finally got underway it produced a tepid first half with Darko Lazovic going close for champions Red Star and Stefan Babovic missing a good chance for Partizan.
Most of the fireworks were confined to the terraces where both sets of fans lit dozens of flares and hurled several stun grenades on to the track, keeping fire officers busy as they dashed around with buckets of water.
Play was again held up for several minutes midway through the second half because of clouds of billowing smoke that had to be cleared after visiting supporters set off fireworks.