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Soccer rivals' fans unite in obscene anti-Putin song

Fans of both the Belarus and Ukraine teams united in anti-Putin song and chanting.

By
Ed Adamczyk

BORISOV, Belarus, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Singing an obscene song about Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Boisov, Belarus, soccer match led to the detention of about 100 fans.

The Euro 2016 qualification match Thursday, between teams from Belarus and Ukraine, featured fans from both sides chanting "Forever Together," "Glory to Ukraine" and the spontaneous performance of a vulgar anti-Putin song popular in Ukraine after Russia annexed Crimea in March. The crowd of about 11,000 put aside their sporting and nationalist differences to unite in offering Putin scorn and obscenity.

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"This game brought together many young people from both Belarus and Ukraine who see their countries' relations with Russia as a problem," said newspaper photographer Siarhei Hudzilin, who attended the match.

The majority of detainees were quickly released by Friday, but 12 Ukrainians were convicted on hooliganism charges and received jail sentences of between five and 10 days, and 12 Belarussians were fined, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty reported. The website of the Belarussian Interior Ministry reported 25 fans were held overnight and had their court proceedings Friday.

The incident came the day before Putin was to visit Belarus to attend a conference.

"Glory to Ukraine" was the rallying cry of the protest movement that ousted former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, earlier this year. It, and "Long Live Belarus," were chanted by both sides at the soccer match, which Ukraine won, 2-0.

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