Monday, November 8, 2010

Celtic fans fascist banner display

Published Date: 08 November 2010
THERE is outrage after scores of Celtic football fans held banners describing the remembrance poppy as "bloodstained".
The protest staged by a section of the Glasgow club's fans saw six large banners held up ahead of a game on Saturday in opposition to the team wearing poppies on their shirts next weekend.

The banners, organised by an extreme group of Celtic fans, included one
which said "no bloodstained poppies on our hoops".

Another carried the slogan "Your deeds would shame all the devils in
Hell" above the words "Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan".

Last night Celtic apologised for the incident and said it was investigating.

But, pointing out that last year a section of Celtic fans booed during a minutes silence for Remembrance Day, East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell accused Celtic of having "apologised, excused and prevaricated
instead of lancing this boil".

Saturday's incident, which took place at Celtic Park ahead of Celtic's
match against Aberdeen, was apparently organised by a section of the Celtic support calling themselves the Green Brigade.

The are angered at Celtic's participation in an initiative by the
Scottish Premier League which involves all 12 clubs wearing a poppy
on their kits for the matches over the Remembrance weekend.

A statement on the Green Brigade website attacks the football club for
its decision to support the poppy appeal, making reference to Bloody
Sunday, Basra and the sinking of the Argentinian warship the General Belgrano during the Falklands War.

Defending the protests, the statement says: "While we recognise the right of individuals to remember their dead and that many within the Celtic support will wear the poppy in memory of family and friends lost in WW2 and other conficts, we cannot accept the imposition of the
poppy onto our shirts."

The group is reported to be trying to organise a boycott of this weekend's match at St Mirren when the poppy will appear on the Celtic players' kits.

When contacted by the News Letter yesterday, a spokesman for Celtic Football Club declined to comment other than to say: "The actions of a small minority have no place at Celtic Park.

"We are investigating the matter and clearly we apologise for any offence caused."

But Mr Campbell said that he did not believe Celtic could dismiss it as a small minority as there had been a series of banners erected over several tiers of the stand.

The DUP MP said: "I think that Celtic Football Club have to confront the small number of fans who have engaged in the past in this type of totally unacceptable and outrageous behaviour.

"Remembering that former Celtic players as well as Rangers players and those from other clubs have served in the Armed Forces with distinction, and that the chairman of Celtic, John Reid, is a former Secretary of State for Defence, they must be appalled, embarrassed and
humiliated by this.

"Celtic must lance this boil once and for all. They should say to fans 'We are going to commemorate the sacrifice of our former players and that of all others and if you don't like it, that's tough.'"

Several Rangers fans contacted the News Letter yesterday to highlight what they called the "blatant sectarianism" of those involved.

One, who did not wish to be named said: "It's disgraceful that this was allowed into the stadium as all banners are to be inspected on entry."

Throughout yesterday there was condemnation of the protest on many football websites - both those of Celtic fans and rival football clubs as well as those used by members and former members of the armed forces.

A statement posted on the offcial Celtic FC website says: "Stories suggesting Celtic have banned the selling of poppies at the stadium are absolute nonsense and supporters wishing to purchase poppies can do so at our superstore.

"Celtic Football Club has a great relationship with Poppy Scotland. We have made fnancial donations to the charity and we have been delighted to support the charity's activities in previous years, this year and beyond."

The club is also understood to be offering the players' poppy-adorned shirts for auction after the match to raise funds for the poppy appeal.
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