Dozens of Mainz 05 fans treated after using pepper spray
Iirritating pictures after Mainz 05 won 5-0 at home in the Bundesliga against 1. FC Köln: Dozens of fans, mostly supported by friends or acquaintances, ran around disorientated in the aisles below the stands or held their hands in front of their faces in pain. Others were already being treated by the paramedics, who set up makeshift hospitals remarkably quickly and even shielded them from prying eyes with privacy screens.
Even before that, the depressed mood in the fan stands in the final minutes was surprising after Karim Onisiwo’s fifth goal in the 84th minute had caused a storm of enthusiasm. There was an unusual calm after the game, however, as none of the core supporters felt like celebrating amid the police action and the images of fans with tears in their eyes and irritated skin.
Trigger for the spooky scenes was the use of pepper spray by police officers who, according to their own statements, tried to settle disputes between Mainz fans and between supporters and the security service in the Q block of the stadium, the standing room area for die-hard 05 supporters. Apparently, the security service had asked the emergency services for help, who also used batons. The folders are said to have tried to expel one of the block’s disputants, after which he is said to have received support from other fans.
Disagreements among Mainzers
Apparently, the pepper spray used quickly spread so widely that, in addition to those involved in the confrontation, many more fans felt the effects. Even fans from the S block, a good 30 meters away, later reported slight impairments.
According to witness statements to the FAZ, the reason for the arguments could have been discrepancies regarding private video recordings in the block, which could have caused some supporters to feel that their right to their own image was affected. The police and eyewitnesses ruled out the participation of Cologne fans, who could have mingled with the Mainz crowd as troublemakers.
The police filed criminal charges in several cases. Mainz 05 commented on the incident later in the evening. “We don’t know the background yet. We’ll work that out,” the Bundesliga club said. The Mainzer Fanhilfe, which works to protect the rights of supporters, criticized the massive police operation and the “inflationary use of pepper spray and batons”.. She also said: “Here the question arises as to whether the Mainz police instead of ensuring security do not pose a danger to general stadium-goers. The Mainzer Fanhilfe criticized the actions of the Mainz police and continues to call on all injured 05 fans to contact us.”
For the police, the incident marked the end of an already busy evening: Before the game, which started at 8:30 p.m., there were traffic disruptions around the arena at the Europakreisel, and the chaos was exacerbated by two accidents involving property damage on arrival. Pyrotechnics were then repeatedly ignited in the Cologne block throughout the course of the game, which is why a steward complained of breathing difficulties and had to be treated.