Australian police slam Serb football fans

08 June 2011 03:00

Police on Wednesday lashed out at Serbian football fans who lit flares, smashed bottles and unfurled banners backing accused war criminal Ratko Mladic during their 0-0 draw with Australia.

Inspector Mick Beattie said four people were arrested at the game in Melbourne on Tuesday evening while seven others were evicted from the stadium for bad behaviour and drunkenness.

"These idiots just thought they could activate flares in this crowd. that it was part of their viewing culture," Beattie told Fairfax Radio.

"These are very, very hot marine flares, and it's just a miracle that no one was burnt or injured last night."

Beattie said a laser beam was also spotted in use, while seating was damaged.

A banner was unfurled calling for the release of Mladic, who was arrested last month and indicted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Another read "Death to Tadic, Freedom to Mladic", the Herald-Sun reported. Boris Tadic is the Serbian president, whose government arrested Mladic and sent him to The Hague.

Beattie said he also saw a banner supporting Mladic, but was too far away to identify the offender.

Melbourne is home to a large Serbian community.

Source: AFP