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Serbia: The Death of a French Football Fan

Brice Taton, a 28-year-old French citizen and a fan of the Toulouse football team, was brutally beaten by fans of the Partizan football team in downtown Belgrade on Sept. 17, before the Partizan vs Toulouse game. He died in a Belgrade hospital on Sept. 29. The terrible news prompted bloggers’ reactions.

Srdjan Mitrovic wrote:

I am ashamed of this city, these politicians and this country.

Marko Jevtic created a Facebook group – “Stop Violence” – and, on his blog, invited readers to join it. He also wrote:

I am a Partizan fan. I was born and grew up in Belgrade… but I am ashamed.

REST IN PEACE BRIS

Srecko Sekeljic wrote:

Announcements and acts of violence, why the Gay Pride Parade has been forbidden in the capital’s center, why many people have been beaten, why Brice Taton has died tragically, why citizens can’t walk the streets of cities safely – all this shows very clearly the strong need for organizing a wide front against violence. The first step is for the citizens to take over the streets from groups and individuals who are spreading hatred and sowing fear and death. The next step is for the institutions to initiate and successfully bring criminal charges against individuals, groups and organizations that propagate and carry out the violence.

Serbian officials expressed their condolences to Brice’s family and said that Serbia would never forget him. Web site RTV Studio B published this statement by Ivica Dacic, the Interior Minister:

“On behalf of the Serbian Interior Ministry, I express my deepest condolences over the death of your son. Until the last moment we hoped that Brice and his youth would win. The news of his death, that the Serbian citizens received with great sorrow, is all the more tragic.”

According to ”Studio B”, the Human Rights Ministry State Secretary Marko Karadžić called on citizens to gather at Belgrade's central square at 11:30 CET on Wednesday to pay tribute to the victim with flowers and candles. He said:

It is horrible news that a French citizen lost his life this way in Belgrade. I want to call on all people in Belgrade to come to the Trg Republike square as a human gesture, light candles and leave flowers to show that there are many people in Serbia who are against violence and that Serbia will never forget French citizen Brice Taton, nor will it allow a similar thing to happen again.

President Tadic also reacted:

“Serbia will react with the highest level of seriousness, and with very strict principles. […]”

He added that this was a warning “to all groups that have been promoting violence over the last days.”

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