AMSTERDAM (Jan. 20)
Riot police prevented 1,000 soccer fans who were singing anti-Semitic songs and shouting neo-Nazi slogans from attending a soccer match last Sunday in Diemen, an eastern suburb of Amsterdam.
The fans had traveled from Utrecht to Diemen to cheer on their home team, which was playing against the Amsterdam team Ajax.
As the fans got off their train in Diemen yelling anti-Semitic slogans and saluting in Nazi style, police ordered all the Utrecht fans to return home immediately by train.
Two fans who resisted police were arrested.
Police also found leaflets with anti-Semitic song lyrics distributed on the train.
This is not the first time the Ajax team has been the target of anti-Semitic epithets. Some consider it a Jewish team because in the past it has had leading players of Jewish origin and because the father of its chairman is Jewish.
Fans from opposing soccer teams are known not only to shout anti-Semitic slogans but also to scream out racist epithets at the black players of Ajax while throwing bananas at them and making jungle noises.
Anti-Semitism has become almost commonplace at soccer matches here and in other European countries, notably Italy.
In November, Dutch police arrested 20 people at a soccer match after the group erupted in anti-Semitic and racist catcalls and made hissing sounds to imitate Nazi gas chambers.
Last August, another Dutch soccer team, the Go Ahead Eagles, took measures to prevent anti-Semitism at its matches. The team installed closed-circuit video in its stadium and pledged to expel those found expressing racist views for at least six months.
After last Sunday’s incident, the chairman of the Utrecht team’s fan club said it was unjust that the police ordered all fans back to Utrecht, including those who did not join in the anti-Semitic singing.
Another Utrecht club official said the trouble-makers did not belong to the club’s regular fans.
Police have opened an investigation to find out who distributed the anti-Semitic leaflets.