ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatian police opened fire with live ammunition during clashes on a highway with hundreds of soccer fans returning from a match in the capital, authorities said. Two fans and about a dozen police officers were injured.
The violence late Saturday happened when a convoy of buses was transporting Hajduk Split fans under police escort after the team lost a match to league rival Dinamo Zagreb. The buses stopped and a group of fans turned against officers, police said in a statement.
The Hajduk fans blocked the highway and ignored police orders to disperse, the statement added. Police then used live ammunition and other means to repel the fans, it said.
Two fans were thought to have been struck by bullets, but none of the injured, including the police officers, were in life-threatening condition, police said. No further details were provided in the statement.
Local media reported that the highway leading from the capital Zagreb to the Adriatic Sea coast town of Split remained closed for much of the night and early morning Sunday. Pictures posted on social media showed what appeared to be flares, and later fans forced to lie on the ground.
The Index news portal said that nearly 2,000 Hajduk fans who traveled to Croatia’s capital for the match with Dinamo didn’t attend because police wouldn’t allow them to bring in their banners. Dinamo, which had already clinched the league title, beat second-place Hajduk 3-1 on Saturday.