Croatia fans burn EU flag before Euro 2012 match
Croatian soccer fans burned a European Union flag and paraded
around with posters of a convicted war criminal before their team
faces Italy at the European Championship on Thursday.
Several thousand Croatian supporters crowded into an area around
Poznan’s main old town square, drinking and singing before the
Group C game in the evening. Some men were bare chested despite
chilly weather, displaying tattoos of nationalist symbols.
They taunted a smaller number of Italian fans with an inflatable
sex doll wearing an Italian team shirt, and set off flares.
There were also banners on display, some with designs evoking
the fascist ”Ustasa” movement, which governed Croatia as a Nazi
protectorate from 1941-44. Some people also carried pictures of
Ante Gotovina, a former general convicted by the U.N. war crimes
tribunal at The Hague. Gotovina is an icon of the far-right in
Police, some in riot gear, monitored the situation, but did not
In 2011, a Hague tribunal sentenced Gotovina to 24 years in
prison for his role in a 1995 military offensive intended to drive
Serb rebels out of land they had occupied for years along Croatia’s
southern border with Bosnia.