26 people arrested after massive soccer fan brawl in Serbia

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Red Star soccer fans light torches during a Serbian National league derby match against Partizan in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Dec. 13. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Red Star soccer fans light torches during a Serbian National league derby match against Partizan in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Dec. 13. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Belgrade, Serbia (AP) — Police in Serbia have arrested 26 people after a massive fan brawl during a soccer match between Belgrade rivals Red Star and Partizan that left at least 20 people injured.

Police said Thursday that foreign nationals are among those who were detained after Wednesday’s match, which ended 1-1. Local media said six Croats, one Greek and one Bulgarian are among the arrested.

Croatia’s foreign ministry said that one of the Croats has been hospitalized in Belgrade with serious injuries.

The appearance of Croats at a stadium in Serbia is highly unusual because of strained relations between the two former Yugoslav nations since their war in the 1990s.

The brawl erupted between two rival Partizan fan groups. Several people suffered head injuries and burns from torches. Some fans were stripped naked before being kicked out of the stands as riot police intervened with batons.

Clashes between Partizan and Red Star fans have been common for one of the world’s most intense soccer rivalries.

With the draw, Red Star are leading Partizan by nine points halfway through the championship.