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Buġibba residents see red as rival Serbian supporters resort to vandalism

Ringleader 'Ivan the Terrible' spotted at Ta' Qali stadium

The group of Serbs allegedly involved in Wednesday’s disturbances. Photos: Facebook

The group of Serbs allegedly involved in Wednesday’s disturbances. Photos: Facebook

Buġibba residents are up in arms in the wake of the authorities’ weak response to foreign gangs who have been involved in a spate of incidents which left several properties vandalised.

The latest happened on Wednesday, when Serbian football fans who were in Malta for the Europa League game featuring Red Star Belgrade and Floriana FC, were involved in various disturbances.

Red graffiti sprayed on the front garden of Buġibba properties.Red graffiti sprayed on the front garden of Buġibba properties.

The incidents, in broad daylight, prompted a number of Buġibba residents to vent their frustration on social media, especially after finding graffiti on their properties.

One of them even a number of photos of the damage caused by what he called a group of Serbs in Triq Iċ-Ċern close to the former Buġibba Holiday Complex.

“What a shame! They are going round the streets and vandalising our wall,” a resident complained.

“When I urged them to show more respect for the residents, they verbally abused me and made obscene gestures in my regard,” she added.

Though the police were alerted and soon were on the scene, no arrests appeared to have been made. Questions sent to the police were not answered.

The incidents were sparked by clashes between the Red Star supporters and Serbian compatriots supporting their eternal rivals Partizan Belgrade. Games between these two clubs have frequently been marred by hooliganism and violence.  

The clashes are believed to have involved Serbs residents in Malta and others who came for the Red Star match. 

 

Seen among the Red Star Belgrade supporters at Ta’Qali stadium yesterday was Ivan Bogdanov, known as 'Ivan the Terrible' for his presence in several instances of football hooliganism. He was arrested by police after clashes in several countries.

No incidents were reported during yesterday’s match.

St Paul’s Bay mayor Graziella Galea confirmed that in recent months there have been various complaints regarding incidents involving foreigners and graffiti in Slavic language.

“Unfortunately, this has been going on for months and the council has repeatedly taken action to remove them, but the culprits are still at large,” she said.

Last January Ms Galea had called for a national action plan for the integration of migrants into Maltese communities, following another spate of vandalism and graffiti. The mayor had also requested extra police as well as the deployment of tourism police, but the latter request was refused.

Six months down the line, calls for beefing up law and order were once again being made, this time by residents on Facebook.

However, residents expressed disappointment that whenever they had flagged the situation even directly at the police headquarters in Floriana, the situation remained the same.

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