The far-right rise triggers the alarm at the Euro Cup

The far-right rise triggers the alarm at the Euro Cup

Germany already has quite a few recent examples of the racist or homophobic fury of hooligans from Eastern Europe. As were the columns of Hungarian fans, in rigorous black, crying out against “homosexual Germany” in the 2021 Euro Cup. Julian Nagelsmann’s team will face Hungary in Stuttgart on June 16, a match that has activated the alerts from that city in southern Germany regarding the arrival of visitors from country politically dominated by the ultranationalist Víktor Orbán. Before that, in the Gelsenkirchen stadium, in the heart of the Rhineland, Serbia is expected this Sunday, which will face England, another team traditionally well nourished by violent fans. In the Rhineland media it is reported that the British authorities have warned of the possible presence of 500 Serbian hooligans, potentially Russian sympathizers and “heated up” from disinformation platforms through Telegram.

They are not the only sources of tension expected for the Euro Cup that starts this Friday at the Allianz Arena in Munich, with Nagelsmann’s team against Scotland. Czech and Polish hooligans are also under observation. The emboldening of these sectors in the midst of the rise of the extreme right in Eastern Europe is worrying.. In Hungary there is no one who can overshadow Orbán, the Kremlin’s most powerful ally in the European Union. In Poland, a rejuvenated nationalist extremism has emerged with the Confederation party, compared to the already aging Law and Justice (PiS), the party that went into opposition with the arrival of Donald Tusk to power. Serbia has ultranationalist Aleksandar Vucic in its presidency. A tough outlook for a Euro Cup, where The exclusion of Russia does not guarantee that the tournament will be free of its influence. Telegram accounts such as “Ultras Not Reds”, “GruppaOF” or “Hooligans.cz” are propaganda and mobilization channels.

German police prepare in the city of Ilmenau. / AP

“There are masses of violent fans, young men, who turn the stadiums into a political space exploited by far-right currents. We observe this in both Poland and Hungary,” Robert Claus, an expert on football’s extremist structures, warned from ARD public television. ‘Hooliganism’ is not just a “danger from outside.” In Germany there are about 10,000 violent fans and alliances of violent fans and neo-Nazis of the Junge Alternative, the youth of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the second national force in the European elections.

From Munich’s rainbow to Hitler’s Olympiastadion

The call “Hungarian Carpathian Brigade, or Carpathian Brigade, has multiplied its presence in recent years on Telegram, where he exhibits his martial hooligan parades. For the estimated 5,000 members of this movement, UEFA’s intention to present the Euro Cup under the sign of tolerance is a “challenge”, with the projection of the LGBT rainbow on the façade of the Allianz in Munich on the second weekend. of the tournament, coinciding with Pride Day. Machismo is as imperative to its hooligans as racist white supremacism.

The great temptation for these groups is, however, the Olympiastadion in Berlin, the stadium where this Saturday the Spanish team will debut against Croatia, another country with virulent fans. Its architecture preserves the traces of the Nazi regime for the stadium that hosted Adolf Hitler’s Olympic Games in 1936. It exerts a powerful attraction for European neo-Nazism.

German police officers inspect the stands at the Düsseldorf Arena. /AP

Border controls and video surveillance

The Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser, has articulated a security device that ranges from border controls to video surveillance both in the stadiums and in the Fan Miles, where an estimated 15 million fans will follow the games. She also warns that 100% security does not exist and that Its “enemies” range from cyberattacks, to Islamic terrorism, extremism and hooligans. Recent knife attacks, one of them with a police officer stabbed to death by a 25-year-old Afghan, have shown to what extent it is impossible to “monitor everything everywhere.” And the alarm has been raised about what could happen in the Euro Cup if panic breaks out due to an attack perpetrated by a single individual, with a weapon that can be purchased in any supermarket, such as a knife.

The jewel in Faeser’s crown is the International Police Cooperation Center (IPCC) installed in the “Land” of North Rhine-Westphalia, where four of the ten stadiums of the Euro Cup are concentrated. German police officers will work there with 350 colleagues from other European countries. It will be up to them to “detect” pockets of violent inflation. Video surveillance and cybersecurity are priority weapons in a context of enemies often invisible to the human eye.

2024-06-13 16:18:53
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