THE POLICIA NACIONAL have arrested four men suspected of hanging a dummy of Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior from a Madrid area bridge in January.
Three of the men are members of an ultra fan group of Atletico Madrid who had been identified during matches as representing a high risk of violence.
The dummy appeared on a bridge close to Real Madrid’s training ground on January 26 during the run up to Atletico playing deadly rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey.
A banner in the red and white colours of Atletico bearing the message ‘Madrid hates Real’ was also draped over the bridge.
The message is often used by one of Atletico Madrid’s ultra fans groups, although it denied at the time being responsible for the flag.
The four men, who were arrested in Madrid on Tuesday, are ‘suspected of a hate crime for hanging from a bridge a mannequin with Vinicius’ shirt’, the Policia Nacional said.
The arrests came amidst an outcry after racist abuse was hurled at the 22-year-old Brazilian player during Real’s La Liga match at Valencia on Sunday.
The game was held up for several minutes and the referee wrote in his post-match report that shouts of ‘monkey’ had been directed at Vinicius.
Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the incident, which was condemned by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as well as Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
The Brazilian government has formally protested to the Spanish ambassador and will lodge an official complaint with authorities in Madrid.
Real Madrid have filed a complaint ‘in order that the facts be investigated and those responsible be held accountable’.
The club said the chants, in its view, ‘constitute a hate crime’, while Valencia have said that any of those found responsible will get a lifetime ban from the stadium.
- Real Madrid forward Vinicius calls La Liga and Spain ‘racist’ after racial insults from fans at Spain’s Valencia