Police detain 19 involved in Brazil fan violence

Brazilian police detained 19 people for their alleged

involvement in fan violence that marked the final round of the

Brazilian league, with some of them likely to be charged with

attempted murder.

Police in three states had arrest warrants for nearly 30 people

in a joint operation being called ”Red Card,” with detentions

made throughout the day on Thursday.

Authorities used television images and photographs to identify

the fans, among them a former council member in the southern city

of Curitiba and at least one of the four men hospitalized after the

brawl.

Three men had been arrested the day of the Dec. 8 fight, which

resulted in police firing rubber bullets to disperse the crowd

during the match between Atletico Paranaense and Vasco da Gama. One

of the injured men had to be airlifted from the field to a

hospital.

Hundreds of fans from charged at each other in the stands,

throwing punches and kicks and using sticks and metal bars in the

fighting. Images of the violence were sent around the world,

raising doubts about Brazil’s preparedness to host the World Cup

next year.

”We hope this becomes a lesson to fans so they understand that

the law still exists inside a stadium during sporting events,”

police inspector Luis Felipe Fuentes told Globo TV. ”A murder

attempt inside a stadium is the same as a murder attempt outside

the stadium.”

Authorities told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro that 12

fans had not yet been arrested by the end of the day on Thursday

and were considered fugitives.

Sixteen detentions were made in Parana, two in Santa Catarina

and one in Rio de Janeiro state.

Police had search and seizure warrants for the headquarters of

fan groups from both teams in Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba.

Officials said they seized documents and computers from an Atletico

Paranaense fan group, and one of the computers contained images of

past fights involving its members.

Fan groups are usually at the root of stadium violence in

Brazil, with many fights pre-arranged on the Internet. Government

officials, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, have been

calling for more strict punishment for those caught in fan fights

inside stadiums.

The match was played in Joinville instead of Atletico’s base in

Curitiba because the club had already been punished because of fan

violence.

Last week, Brazil’s sports tribunal said Atletico Paranaense

will have to play 12 matches away from home next year because of

the fighting. The tribunal also said Vasco will have play eight

`home’ matches away. Both clubs will have to play half of the games

in empty stadiums. Atletico Paranaense was also fined about $50,000

and Vasco nearly $35,000.

This week, Japanese automaker Nissan dropped its sponsorship of

Vasco because of the fighting, saying the violence was

”incompatible with the values and principles supported and

defended by the company across the world.” The planned four-year

sponsorship deal had been signed in July.

A four-time Brazilian champion, Vasco lost the interrupted game

5-1 and was relegated to the second division for the second time in

five years. Atletico Paranaense finished third in the 20-team

standings.

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