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RST Statement on Old Firm Violence

3rd February 2015

 

The Rangers Supporters Trust (RST) is extremely concerned at some of the incidents surrounding the Old Firm game at the weekend. We spoke last week about our fears that certain elements in the Celtic support were using the internet to raise sectarian tension ahead of the fixture. Sadly our concerns appear to have been well founded.

 

First of all, we would like an explanation of how the Green Brigade were once again allowed to bring an offensive, sectarian banner into the game? This group has previous for openly supporting Irish Republican terrorism, disrupting Remembrance Day, and overt sectarian behaviour. If a Rangers fan group consistently disgraced our club with offensive, sectarian banners, we would expect the club to take decisive action. Not only does Celtic Football Club tolerate the Green Brigade, they encourage them and facilitate their displays.

 

The use of the term “Hun” on the banner in question, despite some apologists in Scottish politics and the media playing down its significance, is clearly sectarian. Its origins in Northern Ireland are well known. All anti sectarian charities acknowledge that it is a sectarian term. We will not accept it as 'banter'. Furthermore, the use of the term “monkeys” to describe Rangers fans on another Green Brigade banner has clear parallels with historic racist language.

 

The purpose of the terms used by the Green Brigade - “monkeys” and “huns” - is to dehumanise Rangers fans.

 

In addition to the Green Brigade, we highlighted the likes of Phil MacGiollabhain, Angela Haggerty and others using dehumanising language online ahead of the fixture. Rangers fans are described regularly as “the klan”, references are made to “Stalag Sevco” and “fascists”. Again the clear purpose is to characterise Rangers fans as less than human or liken them to the worst elements of humanity – in other words, fair game for the hard of thinking who the writers seek to, and in some cases successfully, influence.

 

The effect of this is clear. A ten year old Rangers fan bottled by Celtic fans who forced their way onto a Rangers supporters’ bus. Another Rangers fan assaulted outside a pub by Celtic fans and hospitalised with possible brain damage. Nacho Novo once again threatened online. Curiously, instead of accurate media reporting, we see some outlets refer to the perpetrators as “rival fans”.

 

It is quite clear that a minority of morons in the Celtic support are listening to, and acting on, the bile churned out by MacGiollabhain, Haggerty and the Green Brigade.

 

Instead of ineffective legislation which produces inconsistent and at times bizarre outcomes, the Scottish government should be educating the next generation of Old Firm fans on why sectarianism is not acceptable. In addition, they should be clamping down on the online hate campaign waged by certain individuals and dealing with the type of organised, premeditated sectarianism perpetrated by groups like the Green Brigade.

 

The overwhelming majority of Old Firm fans, and indeed all Scottish football fans, are decent people who love their club. They are often targeted for disgraceful treatment and demonised whilst the real culprits are ignored. We thank the Celtic fan who started a collection for the young Rangers fan attacked at the weekend. We hope his club and the police will start to take the actions of online hate-mongers and the disgraceful, sectarian Green Brigade seriously and belatedly deal with them.

 

- See more at: https://www.therst.co.uk/news/rst-statement-on-old-firm-violence/#sthash.JOxr8LGc.dpuf

Edited by Zappa
added paragraph line spaces & fixed thread title
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