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Danes Protest Israel Football Game

Agence France-Presse
April 17, 2002


More than 200 people were arrested at the Denmark versus Israel World Cup warm-up fixture here on Wednesday, police said.

About 150 anti-Israeli demonstrators were apprehended after refusing to disband during a demonstration near the Parken stadium calling for peace in the Middle East.

About 50 others were arrested just before the fixture when about 200 young supporters tried to penetrate the security perimeter around the stadium, clashing with dog-handling police officers.

The cold and rainy conditions dampened much of the demonstrators' ardour, though small groups continued their action in the streets surrounding the stadium, closely watched by anti-riot police.

In the stadium, which was three-quarters empty, two young supporters got on to the pitch after Denmark went into an early two-goal lead, one with a T-shirt saying "Boycott Israel" and both waving small Palestinian flags.

Both were quickly apprehended by security personnel. Ten minutes later, another fan tried to make his protest known but was quickly apprehended by police.

About 3,000 police were drafted in for this high-risk match.

Three anti-Israel demonstrations had been scheduled in the Danish city earlier in the day. A threat had also been made by anonymous letter to the Danish football federation (DBU), published by a newspaper, saying there would be a bomb attack during the game unless the match was cancelled.

Meanwhile nearly six thousand spectators, out of 17,600 tickets sold, had their ticket money reimbursed, the DBU said.

Many spectators said they wanted their money back in protest against the escalating violence in the Middle East.