Bosnia police gear up for Croatia-Turkey match

Many Bosnian Muslims back Turkey in international competitions for historical and cultural reasons that go back to the five centuries of Ottoman rule in the Balkans, while Bosnian Croats regard the Croatian national team as their own.

Bosnia police gear up for Croatia-Turkey match

Bosnian police said on Friday more than 1,000 officers are being deployed to prevent trouble between Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Muslim fans watching the Euro 2008 Croatia-Turkey match in the town of Mostar.

Many Bosnian Muslims back Turkey in international competitions for historical and cultural reasons that go back to the five centuries of Ottoman rule in the Balkans, while Bosnian Croats regard the Croatian national team as their own.

The southern town of Mostar has roughly an equal number of Croats and Muslims.

"We will not tolerate any violence," said police spokesman Srecko Bosnjak, adding that police had information that clashes had been planned in advance.

He appealed on residents to remain dignified and refrain from violence, and said police may ask for reinforcements from other towns if necessary.

The security measures will also be increased in the southern town of Stolac, where mostly Bosnian Muslim returning refugees have been victims of violence, as well as in the town of Prozor.

Mostar's rival soccer fans last had a major clash in 2006, after the town's Muslims supported Brazil in a World Cup match that saw the Croats lose 1-0.

One boy was shot and seriously wounded and six policemen were injured when they used tear gas to separate fans who were hurling rocks and bottles at each other.

In 1998 a woman was killed by a stray bullet during celebrations of Croatia's World Cup quarter final victory.

Reuters

Last Mod: 20 Haziran 2008, 18:25
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