Saturday, November 25, 2006

Double minority

In an incident that is difficult to slot into any of the many narratives about French society, a black policeman shot dead a fan of Paris St Germain who was one of a mob attacking him and a French fan of Israeli soccer team Hapoel Tel Aviv whom he was protecting. This extensive BBC report notes that things got ugly after the match, which PSG lost 4-2. The mob chanted anti-Semitic slogans at a group of French fans of the Israeli team and then attacked one fan and the policeman, Antoine Granomort, who had intervened. Accounts differ about whether he fired in self-defence or in panic, although in this case it's not clear what the difference is.

PSG fans had been more recently noted for infighting, but the presence of the Israeli team clearly brought other tendencies to the surface. Yet both Hapoel and Maccabi Haifa have managed previous trips to potentially dodgy territory without this level of trouble breaking out -- the presence of hometown fans of the visiting team being the apparent "provocation" in this case. The events will inevitably be grist for the mill in this political season in France.

UPDATE: Much more, in French, from France 2 [also watch their nightly news]. The specific chant aimed at the policeman was "Dirty nigger ... Blue, White, Red, France for the French". It also appears that a single bullet injured one fan before hitting the second fatally in the heart; this is one reason why the prosecutor is indicating his preference to intepret the incident as self-defence and not indiscriminate fire.

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