Thursday, February 21, 2013
Lyon, France - Jewish UK Soccer Fans Target Of Anti-Semitic Attack In France
A club statement on Twitter said: "Club officials attended an incident last night in Lyon. A group of around 50 people confronted fans. The situation was dealt with and arrests were made within the hour. Three fans sustained minor injuries & received prompt medical assistance.
It is the second time that Tottenham fans, who have strong Jewish support, have been targeted by an apparent antisemitic attack in the last three months. In November, one fan was stabbed and others hurt when ambushed in a pub in Rome on the eve of their game against Lazio.
A report published this week by the Jewish Community Protection Service (SPCJ) in France, said 22 antisemitic acts reported to the police in Lyon last year, the third worst for a French city after Paris and Marseille. Neighbouring Villeurbanne, part of the wider Lyon area also experienced 22 incidents, in what the SPCJ called "a year of unprecedented violence against Jews in France".
Christian Radnedge, a Spurs-supporting journalist who was in the Smoking Dog, told the BBC that it had been "full to the rafters" when there was "a huge cacophony of noise and the sound of glass being smashed". As supporters tried to get away "from a load of projectiles and a group of masked men trying to make their way into the pub", other fans tried to hold their attackers back "with tables and chairs and anything else they could get their hands on".
Radnedge said: "There was nothing to suggest they were Olympique Lyonnais fans. They were wearing masks and balaclavas."
The Smoking Dog's landlord, Dave Eales, originally from Nottinghamshire, said: "At 10.18 the pub was rammed with Tottenham fans watching the Champions League on the television. The front of the pub, which is made up of reinforced glass, was attacked by 20 to 25 people.
"There were three injured Tottenham fans taken away by ambulance. One of them had a head injury. I'm not sure how bad it was."
One fan, who did not want to be named, said: "There were 50 who attacked in the first wave and 25 in the second. It's a pretty scary thing when you're confronted by people doing Nazi salutes.
"A lit flare was thrown through the window as well as the heavy weight, the kind that's used on terraces to hold down umbrellas … It was terrifying. I've never seen anything like it. They threw iron stools through the windows as well."
The French radio station RMC sport said Tottenham fans had probably been attacked because the club was "known for being Jewish".
The local newspaper Le Progrès quoted several witnesses saying that a gang of around 40 young French men described as skinheads had attacked the English supporters.
One bar owner told the paper: "All day we had been welcoming English supporters and everything was calm. Suddenly these people arrived and they began throwing stones and stools against our windows. They hurt some customers who were outside. I'm really shocked."
Another bar owner was quoted saying: "They were looking to provoke a fight. They started having a go at people who were just sitting there in peace."
Lyon fans are often labelled fachos or fascists by bloggers critical of their behaviour.