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Novosti News

31.1.2010. 9:53
zar nam to treba
U prilogu se nalazi vijest objavljena od Židovskog kongresa o incidentu u Australiji, na otvaranju teniskog takmičenja (Australian open)

Right-wing tennis hooligans have cast a shadow over the start of the Australian Open, putting a black eye on an event with a history already scarred by racial clashes.

A pack of Croatian thugs, armed with flares and flashing Nazi salutes, marched into Melbourne Park, menacing fans and attacking a photographer for Melbourne’s Herald Sun, the newspaper reports.

The photographer claims he was spat at and "slapped on the back of the head."

"You certainly wouldn’t expect it at the tennis match," said Craig Borrow. "People are supposed to be there to have fun, not to create havoc."

"They weren’t there to have fun. They just seemed to be angry for no apparent reason."

Eleven of the fans were ultimately ejected from the match for "causing problems for other spectators at the ground," a stadium official, Jock Menzel, told the paper. At least one was written up for sneaking flares past security into the stadium.

At least two of the thugs are facing a murder trial, the Herald Sun reports, and are known to promote right-wing propaganda.

The goons were quickly condemned by the premier of Victoria, John Brumby, who called their behavior a national embarassment in an interview on Australian radio.

"I think it’s embarrassing to Australia and, I gotta say, I think probably embarrassing to the Croatian community as well," he said.

But at least one member of the country’s Australian-Croatian community says it’s the news media that should be ashamed — not the lads.

Linda Paric, a member of the Australia Croatia Community Services committee, called the Herald Sun’s coverage of the altercation "disappointing" and "predictable annual hysterical reporting and negative portrayal of the Croatian community."

Saying the community has repeatedly been "vilified," Paric also denied the youth were giving a Nazi salute in the photos that ran in Australian media.

"The Nazi salute. I really challenge that ... there’s also a three-fingered salute in that. When did that become the Nazi salute ? In the same picture taken from different angles...

"I’d really like to see that picture uncropped."

The grand slam tournament was marred by racial strife last year when Bosnian and Serbian fans hurled chairs at one another, and in 2007 when Serbian and Croatian fans attacked one another.