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Polonia Warsaw - Legia Warsaw
2th September: Derby
Police arrest around 700 fans!
The Derby of Warsaw: Polonia Warsaw – Legia Warsaw
Last time there were the derby matches in Warsaw was in 2006, so it was two years ago. It must be said that there still wouldn’t be any derby matches, but Polonia Warsaw has “bought” a First-League-license from Dyskobolia Grodzisk Wielkopolski. In fact, the original Polonia Warsaw with its history plays in Polish Fourth League, and this Polonia from First League has taken over a history and players from Dyskobolia.
Anyway, the derby match is the derby match. By chance we played our first league fixture against Polonia at home. But at the Legia Stadium arrived less than 500 Polonia fans, everyone by the special buses. On 2nd September 2008 we had to play second time against each other in this season. This time in League Cup, as we are in the same group. And what is more – this time the match was going to be played at the Polonia Stadium.
Now it should be said, for those who don’t know that for more than one year Legia fans are protesting against their owners. Everything started after the riots in Vilnius in the Intertoto Cup, when we played against Vetra. Shortly, here are the main points of our ‘protest’: we don’t chant on the home matches and we boycott the away matches ‘organized’ by our club (it means we travel on away matches, but we get tickets for one of the sector of host’s club). But by this way we have to be communicated with our rivals. It is normal that this method can’t be successful in any derby match...
So we didn’t buy any tickets at our club, but it was said that we will be able to buy tickets for the visitors sector at Polonia Stadium.
The derby match on 2nd September was going to start at 8:30 PM. Legia fans met each other in the center of the city (from which is about 30-40 minutes by walk to Polonia Stadium) three hours before. When there were about 800, maybe 1000 Legia fans, we started our corteo. Of course everywhere was the police. They walked near us and at the beginning everything was OK.
[The center of Warsaw]
After 30-40 minutes we reached the nearby area of the Polonia Stadium. Suddenly from both sides (Legia and Polonia) were thrown firing flares. After that the cops attacked not only those, who were throwing the flares, but also every single Legia fan. After few minutes the police encompassed about 700 Legia fans. Some small Legia fans groups, who were lucky not to be ‘caught’ were walking into this cordon, because policemen were saying that they will escort all Legia fans to the visitors sector. But they didn’t.
[The encompassed Legia fans. Some cops with ‘shotguns’, some with bottles with pepper spray]
Instead of escorting us to the Polonia Stadium, the police forced us to walk about 1 km away from Polonia Stadium, near the Vistula River, on the nearby meadow. We all thought that they would keep us until the end of the match and let us free. After one hour of staying there the police announced that after checking ID everyone would be free. But nothing has changed – we still were staying. In meantime, some ‘funny’ cops were joking that after the dark we would see hell.
[that was our ‘visitors sector’ on that match]
Some bored and tired Legia fans fired some flares and put them on the ground. Everyone started singing boy scouts songs, like on the bonfire. After a while some fans started to throw away waned flares, but cops interpreted this as an attack. The police started to hit everyone by a cudgel and used a lot of pepper gas/spray. After that police said that everyone would be moved to the police-station. Unfortunately, they didn’t lie. Minute by minute, hour by hour – they were arresting more and more persons. Actually, person by person, they get every of us. They arrested about 700 fans. What is more interesting – fans were not only driven to police-stations in Warsaw. Some fans landed in cities, which are about 50-70 km from Warsaw, because in the commissariats in Warsaw there wasn’t enough place for all 700 fans.
[Bottles with pepper spray]
On the police-stations almost everyone stayed about 24 hours. Every single person has got allegation (one of them is ‘attending the illegal concourse’ !). Almost everyone received the stadium ban. And now everything will depend on the court. What is interesting – on some police-stations fans were forced to admit their allegations, even if they had done nothing (almost every person is innocent).
Interesting are also the facts given by the media. They say that it was ‘about 700 mortally threatening hooligans, who destroyed whole (!) the city!’ In fact, the only things that were wasted were TWO ‘looking-glasses’ in the cars. Imagine that – 700 hooligans made such a big destruction. Horrible.
Another fact – police spokesman said, that police after arresting 700 fans found a lot of knuckle dusters, boxers’ jaws and.. one fork. And all the media says that hooligans wanted to fight with forks!
So deduce – for what was this whole action? There are several rumors. One of them says that the cops wanted to show the UEFA that they are able to make big actions before EURO 2012, which will be hosted in Poland and Ukraine.
Another rumor says that everything was planned by Legia holders… Because those, who are going for away matches ‘don’t like’ chairman and whole investor. The investor chef is a fat cat in the business world, so for sure he is able to make a lot of things…
To sum up, it must be said that it was the biggest police action in Poland and I guess one of the biggest in the World. It is sad, that we couldn’t see the match, that we even didn’t reach the stadium. And finally it is sad that fans are treated in the same ways as murders, thieves, etc.
But we hope that those sad things will only make us stronger.
Pictures are taken from: http://www.legialive.pl/
Thanks to "Raff" for this article! -ACAB-