Last week I wrote an article informing people of who the Polish Ultras really are and what the situation is with them ahead of the Euros. Today has seen their first two major actions since the visiting teams arrived in Poland for the tournament. It is part of what groups throughout Poland describe as “solidarity”.
Ultras from Widzew managed to steal the attention during a speech by Donald Tusk in Lodz. He was joined by John Godson a Nigerian born member of the Polish parliament. The purpose was to convince the media that the BBC’s documentary was incorrect and that Poland is a tolerant country. The two men were filmed inside Godson’s apartment eating and talking with his family, which went smoothly. They then went outside to make their speeches for the press. Five Ultras from Widzew were there with flares and a banner that had the slogan “Fuck Euro”. The fans then briefly chanted before leaving.
The second incident was more serious. Members of the Dutch team claimed to have heard Ultras from Wisla monkey-chanting their black players while they warmed up for their open training session at the City Stadium. After running their second lap they then had to move to the opposite end of the field in order to avoid hearing this group again. This incident is particularly embarrassing after the recent media attention the two host cities have received. Both nations have been accused of having problems with tolerance of other races and this does nothing to help the image that Tusk was trying to repair earlier in the day in Lodz. Apparently the Wisla Ultras did not want the Dutch team to be using their stadium for training. They believe that their stadium is only for them. This is the reason for targeting the Dutch national team. On top of the monkey chanting there was also a large anti-Euros banner displayed in the crowd during this training session. It however hasn’t received much attention due to the major incident overshadowing it.
This may sound like a crazy idea, but what if the purpose of the monkey-chanting wasn’t hatred towards ethnic minority players? What if instead these guys realised the attention the issue has received recently and wanted to exploit it? The purpose of protesting for the Ultras after all is to humiliate Tusk and the Polish FA. They hate modern football and what it standards for. Hence the E on their “Fuck Euro” signs being represented by the symbol for the Euro currency. They hate the idea of this tournament and therefore want to damage or maybe even ruin it. To them this is a good start. What better way is there to make headlines all over Europe and even further afield than racism? This story has already been reported as far away as the USA. If these guys wanted attention then surely they have committed the perfect crime?
While normal fans who have nothing to do with their movement or protests will hate this they could not deny that these two stunts have managed to be effective and gain worldwide attention. By not caring who they offend or upset there are no boundaries to what could potentially be done in order to gain attention for their cause.
Will these protests end here? What is the next step?
Right now it’s difficult to predict exactly what will be done. I very much doubt anything will happen in any of the stadiums during games. It’s easy to target training sessions because entry is free of charge. This is not the case for tournament games and therefore pretty much rules out protests. Outside on the streets appear to be the most likely place. I do not know of any current dates set as of right now.
I do however know of a proposed day of action next Tuesday on the twelfth. It has been labelled as something like “Bolshevik Beating”. On that day the Polish national team play against Russia, their most bitter enemy. I doubt I have to explain the recent history of this situation to anyone. Russia are also known for having some of the most dangerous hooligans in the world. They are one of the few nations capable of challenging the Poles. It appears as though some Russian hooligans will travel to Warsaw for the match and the Polish are looking forward to it.
I will update people when I hear of anything else newsworthy.