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Friday, November 24, 2006

Paris mayor: Hapoel match clash shows need to fight anti-Semitism

Last update - 15:55 24/11/2006

Paris mayor: Hapoel match clash shows need to fight anti-Semitism
By The Associated Press

PARIS - Violence that broke out when Paris Saint-Germain fans ganged up on a
Hapoel Tel Aviv supporter - culminating in a shooting death - shows the need
to crack down on racism and anti-Semitism among soccer fans, the Paris mayor
said Friday.

The brawl Thursday night ended with a plainclothes police officer shooting
into the crowd to protect the Hapoel fan, killing one person and injuring
another, police said.

"The seriousness of this event confirms the absolute necessity of fighting
racism and anti-Semitism among PSG fans," Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said in
a statement.

Delanoe said he would contact the Paris police chief and the president of PSG,
which plays in the French first division, to come up with a plan to fight the

"I want to make sure that Paris' image and values are respected under every
circumstance - there is no room for the slightest form of intolerance,"
Delanoe said.

Hooliganism, overt racism and fan violence have plagued PSG and, more
generally, French soccer - even as other countries like Britain have had
considerable success in combatting such problems.

Tougher punishments for hooligans and repeated vows from French Interior
Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and other politicians that soccer violence will no
longer be tolerated have failed to eradicate the problem.

The incident at a McDonald's fast food restaurant near the Parc des Princes
stadium occurred after Hapoel Tel Aviv's 4-2 victory over PSG in a UEFA Cup

The officer, who was not identified, was trying to protect a Hapoel Tel Aviv
fan set upon by some 150 PSG supporters, police said. He lobbed tear gas when
the crowd went after him then fired two shots, "having been driven into a
corner," police said.

The Paris prosecutor's office and the National Police General Inspection unit,
which probes incidents involving law enforcement officers, were investigating,
police said.

French Sports Minister Jean-Francois Lamour denounced the "climate and tension
at certain soccer matches." In a statement, he said the incident was
"unacceptable and tainted the image of sports."

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