Hat-wearers wearing racist, anti-foreigner and anti-UK flags disrupted a football match in Birmingham, UK, on Sunday (14 March) between the Birmingham City Football Club and the West Ham United Football Club.
The game ended 0-0 in the latter’s favour.
The crowd chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) as the game was going on, while supporters of the Hammers and the city of Birmingham, which hosted the match, shouted “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “Stop shooting”.
The match was stopped for over 20 minutes in a bid to prevent further violence, which police said “could have escalated into a violent incident”.
Police said that the crowd chanted slogans including “You can’t be Muslim, you can’t eat our food, you have to be British”.
In addition to the chanting, the police said there were also some reports of bottles being thrown and punches being thrown.
Police are investigating the incident and will not comment further until they have interviewed witnesses and any video footage has been reviewed.
In response to the protests, the city’s mayor said he would “strongly condemn” the actions of the protesters.
Birmingham City’s club chairman, Richard Moore, said the protesters were “a group of hat-waving people” who “want to bring trouble to Birmingham”.
The protesters were carrying white flags, Moore said.
“We do not want a riot, we want to keep our city safe,” he told the BBC.
“And the ones that are on the other side of the fence will be disappointed.” “
In a statement on the Birmingham Evening News website, the City of Birmingham said: “We condemn the actions that took place in Birmingham and we are working with the police to find the people responsible. “
And the ones that are on the other side of the fence will be disappointed.”
West Ham’s president, David Sullivan, told the local newspaper The Evening News: “There is no place in the country for racism and extremism. “
This behaviour is unacceptable and we will work with them to prevent it happening again.”
“It’s a shame that this happened in a major city like Birmingham. “
It’s something we are very proud of.” “
It’s a shame that this happened in a major city like Birmingham.
It’s something we are very proud of.”
Birmingham City is home to around 400,000 people, many of whom are Muslim.
West Ham have a huge fanbase of around 5 million people, making it the second biggest football club in the UK.
A number of other clubs have also been hit with racist incidents in recent months, including Leeds United, who hosted the London Derby on Saturday (16 March) following racist chanting from supporters.
A statement from West Ham said: ‘There was a group of people in a group with a white flag, which was seen as a racial slur.
The Birmingham Evening Star said a member of the club’s football team, the Birmingham Town Football Club, tweeted a picture of a police helicopter above the crowd and wrote: ‘Thank you all for your support in dealing with the situation, we hope everyone is safe.’ “
In addition, we are supporting the police and the Birmingham Police Service in their investigation into this matter.’
The Birmingham Evening Star said a member of the club’s football team, the Birmingham Town Football Club, tweeted a picture of a police helicopter above the crowd and wrote: ‘Thank you all for your support in dealing with the situation, we hope everyone is safe.’
Birmingham City and West Ham are part of the Football League and they play each other regularly.