Soccer Devotees Charged in Lyon Cemetery Vandalism

Four young supporters of a soccer club in Lyon have been arrested and charged with the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in that city last month.

Of the four, two 20-year-olds and a minor were immediately jailed.

Numerous gravestones in the old cemetery in the southeastern city were daubed with swastikas and graffiti such as “Heil Hitler,” “Adolf Hitler our father” and “Adolf back to power” in the early morning hours of Sept. 13.

The four told police in statements that they had gone out on a drinking spree in local bars. After an excessive number of beers, three of them climbed over the wall of the Jewish cemetery and desecrated some headstones, while the fourth pasted a hostile slogan on the outside wall of the graveyard.

The cemetery is located close to the grounds of the Lyon soccer club, the Olympique. Investigators thought immediately that the culprits might be soccer supporters, since it has become popular to shout anti-Semitic slogans during soccer matches throughout Europe.

During an encounter between the Olympique and a club from Paris, four youngsters were heard yelling at the visiting players the same slogans as those which had been daubed on the Jewish tombs. The four were arrested on the spot.

Asked by the police to write down the slogans they were heard shouting, the four misspelled them the same way the cemetery vandals did.

They have been charged with provocation to racial hatred, profanation of graves and defacing of monuments.

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