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Hooliganism in Leipzig

DW staff (nda)February 12, 2007

Forty-two people, including 36 policemen, were injured in crowd trouble after a German regional soccer cup match between two amateur teams in the eastern city of Leipzig, police said Sunday.

Lokomotive Leipzig fans fought battles with police after this weekend's Saxony Cup gameImage: picture-alliance/dpa

According to police, some 800 troublemakers started to attack 300 policemen specially deployed for the game, throwing stones and pieces of concrete. The game had been interrupted twice because of trouble in the stands.

Hooligans from Lokomotive Leipzig hurled cobblestones and concrete blocks, injuring police officers and six members of the public after a Saxony state cup match against Erzgebirge Aue II.

One officer was forced to fire his gun into the air to warn away a group of assailants after he became separated from his colleagues and another was injured in the leg with a shot from a blank firing gun, the statement said.

Police horses and dogs were also targeted by hooligans in Saturday's trouble, which saw 21 police cars damaged. The cost of the damage was estimated at 12,000 euros ($15,590), not including police vehicles attacked.

Police expect more arrests to come

Police said five people had been arrested and added they were expecting to make more arrests after studying surveillance camera footage of the trouble, which broke out at the end of the game which Erzgebirge Aue II won 3-0.

In a statement on its Web site, Lokomotive Leipzig said it condemned the violence in the strongest possible terms and that the club distanced itself from the "apparent" fans. "We will fully support the authorities in the search for the guilty parties so they can be brought to justice," the statement said.

The violence in Leipzig was just the latest outbreak of violence involving lower league clubs in Germany.

Fußball, Hooligans, Rostock
Rostock fans prepare to take on their Dresden rivals last yearImage: picture-alliance/dpa

In October last year, the German Soccer Federation (DFB) created a task force to look into ways of dealing with the problem after a sharp rise in violence, including a riot after a regional third division match that resulted in 23 police being injured and 22 arrests.

The riot in Leipzig follows the decision of the Italian government to suspend all soccer matches on Feb. 2 after the death of policeman Filippo Raciti during rioting at a Serie A match between Catania and Palermo. Play was allowed to resume this weekend.