Wednesday, October 08, 2003

The big news from here today, according to Television Espanola, is that 34 arrests have been made of suspected ETA members in both the Spanish and French Basque Countries. The blow was struck at ETA's recruitment branch, and all the arrested are infrastructure operatives, not hitmen. Several of them are apparently very recent graduates from terrorist school. Police pressure is working. ETA is being closed down slowly but surely. Screw negotiation. With who? About what?

There was an ugly football riot last night that ended up in a murder. In San Lazaro Stadium in Santiago de Compostela, modest Second Division B team Compostela ("Compos") was facing powerhouse First Division club Deportivo de la Coruna ("Depor") in a first-round Spanish Cup game. About 4000 people were there. Though La Coruna and Santiago are neighboring cities, their football clubs are generally not considered rivals since they so rarely play one another. At least 500 Depor fans, many of them violent thugs from Depor's Riazor Blues hooligan squad, made the half-hour trip to Santiago, where they met some 3500 mostly--but not completely--peaceful locals.

Problem: The majority of Compos fans are also supporters of Celta, Depor's First Division rival from the nearby Galician city of Vigo, and Celta and Depor supporters do not exactly hug and kiss one another a lot. There were an awful lot of light blue Celta shirts among the local fans.

It looks like the Riazor Blues started it, but information is still pretty sketchy. Anyway, there was fighting in the stands between the Depor fans and the Compos / Celta fans toward the end of the game. The cops had to charge several times and whack a bunch of heads. Seven arrests were made and three people were hurt. The fighting spilled over outside the stadium, and somewhere--they're not even sure if it was inside or outside the stadium--a bunch of Compos / Celta fans beat and kicked to death 31-year-old Deportivo supporter Manuel Rios Suarez. It seems that Rios Suarez tried to stop a group of Compos / Celta fans from beating up a teenager in a Depor shirt, and they beat him up and kicked him while he was on the ground. One of the kicks ruptured his liver and he was DOA at the hospital. Blood was found all over a bathroom inside the stadium but Rios Suarez's body was found outside, in his official team Deportivo jersey. We don't know whether the arrests made are related to Rios Suarez's death.

Meanwhile, in the Castellon-Valencia game, another regional rivalry between modest Castellon and First Division-leader Valencia, the score was 1-1 in the 81st minute when the ref called a foul on a Castellon defender within the penalty area. Near-certain goal for Valencia and a 1-2 victory. Well, that's what would have happened, except some enlightened soul threw a cellphone battery at the ref and clocked him right in the head. He was nearly KOed but stayed conscious long enough to suspend the match.

Last week they had a riot at the Langreo-Oviedo match; a general gang fight in the stands led to several injuries, including one guy stabbed and in the hospital. They had to shut down the match, of course.

Lemme tell you, those Oakland Raiders fans--they look tough, sure, but they're just a bunch of pussies dressed up to make you think they're scary. Weekend bikers fueled up on hundred-proof Jack, nothing more. Think they're tough because they once almost whacked a guy from behind with a pool cue before chickening out. Here in Spain we got real violent sports thugs, none of that wimpass shit like back in the States. I'd back Real Madrid's Ultra Sur hooligan Fascist goons against anybody even Detroit could put up.

No comments: