Silence ended by fans' protest movement

As Germany struggles to deal with football violence, protest group is stopping campaign against new security measures.

    Silence ended by fans' protest movement
    Tighter security measures were brought in after violence during match between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 [EPA]

    German football fans will no longer remain silent for the first few minutes of league games after calling off their protest against new security measures.

    The fans' protest movement, named "12:12" after the measures announced on December 12, said on Wednesday it was backing down after being invited to talks with the German Football League (DFL).

    The DFL and the 36 clubs from the top two divisions voted last month in favour of tighter stadium checks, a crackdown on flares and smoke bombs and tougher sanctions, video monitoring, and better-trained security staff.

    "After the winter break, there will be no more call from us for a silent protest," the 12:12 movement said on its website.

    "We have received an invitation from the Bundesliga for a first interview, so that a dialogue can finally begin in earnest.

    "We have received an invitation from the Bundesliga for a first interview, so that a dialogue can finally begin in earnest"

    Statement on 12:12 website

    "If you compare the agreed measures with the original draft, it can be claimed that the protest helped to prevent more disproportionate measures."

    The supporters were worried that authorities would also place extra curbs on visiting fans and could even abolish standing areas in Bundesliga stadiums.

    German supporters are intensely proud of their fan culture and the raucous flag-waving atmosphere at their stadiums.

    Unlike many other European countries, the Bundesliga allows standing areas in its stadiums, the largest being Borussia Dortmund's 25,000 capacity Suedtribune.

    The terraces are converted to seats for matches in European competition.

    For three weekends in a row, fans protested by remaining silent for the first 12 minutes and 12 seconds of Bundesliga matches before bursting into life.

    German football is struggling to contain growing violence. A report issued in November said that 2011-12 season had the highest number of criminal proceedings in 12 years, almost double the amount of injured fans and a more than 20 percent rise in police work hours from the previous season.

    Widespread crowd trouble before the Ruhr valley derby between champions Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 in October and more fighting when Hanover 96 met Dynamo Dresden in the German Cup have put further pressure on the DFL to be seen to be tackling the problem.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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