Romanian Ultras communities: ”We are football fans, not ”organized criminal groups”

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Over the past few years, Romanian authorities have engaged in a series of power abuses against local Ultras communities.

In spotlight of recent events that have profoundly impacted the Ultra’ community in Romania, it is imperative that we unite and make our voices heard!

We would like to provide some context for the international Ultras scene, which may not be fully aware of the recent developments in Romania. Over the past few years, Romanian authorities have engaged in a series of power abuses, culminating in the arrest of the Peluza Nord – Rapid Bucharest leader, along with members from Peluza Sud Steaua, Peluza Sud Dinamo, and other Ultras groups across the country.

These authorities are treating supporters as criminals, breaking down doors early in the morning, and arresting individuals in front of their families, traumatizing their children for life. You might wonder: what have these people done to deserve such treatment? In the case of the Rapid Bucharest arrests, the issue was primarily about the use of pyro.

In Romania, it is illegal to possess and use pyrotechnics in stadiums. This is treated as a serious criminal act, with those found guilty facing jail terms ranging from 6 months to 5 years.

Ultra fans beaten and tear-gassed without any reason

The roots of this issue date back to 2008, with the adoption of Law 4/2008, known as the „Dragomir Law”, which stipulates sanctions for fans who cause „disturbances during sports competitions.” Since then, Ultras groups have organized numerous protests, yet nothing has changed. The situation has even worsened, with an increasing number of abuses powered by this law. Some examples include:

– Fans being beaten without provocation.

– Fans being tear-gassed without cause.

– Fans being forced to show identification at stadium entrances and subjected to constant surveillance.

– Fans being arrested for using pyrotechnic materials.

– Fans undergoing excessive searches at stadium entrances, including invasive personal searches without any reasonable suspicion. Being required to take your clothes off and and get touched at your genitals is degrading and unacceptable.

– Fans being detained for extended periods without being informed of the reasons for their detention.

– Fans being denied access to medical assistance after being injured by police actions.

– Fans being harassed and abused both verbally and physically by law enforcement officers.

Ultras fans are not criminals

Recently, the Romanian Police conducted an extensive investigation, listening to phone conversations between fans. This operation was resource-intensive and invasive. In many countries, it is almost unheard of for police to present transcripts of private phone conversations and street surveillance footage in court to demonstrate how people coordinated a pyro show.

Yet, this is precisely what happened in the case of the Rapid Bucharest arrests, leading to Ultras groups being labeled as „organized criminal groups.”

We are Ultras, not criminals! We firmly believe that the Romanian Police should redirect their efforts and resources toward addressing the real issues in this country, such as eradicating political corruption.

Yesterday, at the friendly match between Romania and Liechtenstein, all major Ultras groups from Romania have united to send a clear message to the authorities: „Free to be Ultra.” This was our moment to demonstrate the solidarity and strength of the Romanian Ultras scene.

Ultras Groups of Romania

Picture courtesy of Peluza Nord Pitești

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