‘Political s***housery’: Football fans deep-clean stadium after leaders of Spain’s far-right Vox party turn up to match (VIDEO)
Hugely controversial Vox leaders Santiago Abascal and Rocio Monasterio were pictured enjoying the action from a presidential box at second-tier side Rayo Vallecano on Tuesday, watching as the hosts drew 2-2 with Albacete in a game which was postponed last season after political tensions erupted towards Ukraine international Roman Zozulya.
As a club known for its politically conscious, left-wing fanbase, the sight of two figures from the far-right outfit that is now the country's third biggest political party caused outrage online.
Rayo’s Bukaneros supporters group made calls for a reactionary protest on Tuesday, alleging that owner Raul Martin Presa was guilty of tarnishing their history by inviting divisive politicians to Vallecas.
The leaders of Spain's far right party VOX are in the presidential box watching Rayo vs Albacete. https://t.co/T0HQIu41YQ— The Spanish Football Podcast (@tsf_podcast) April 26, 2021
Rayo fans giving the Estadio de Vallecas a deep clean after the club's president invited VOX leaders to attend their game last night https://t.co/4K4fJaUgyl— The Spanish Football Podcast (@tsf_podcast) April 27, 2021
Believing that the ground must be free of facism, around 50 members were said to have headed to Vallecas to disinfect the stadium in industrial hazmat suits, using brooms and mops for a collective deep clean with a motto of "let's disinfect our stadium, let's clean our box".
The mob carried a banner with the face of Presa adorned with the words "Vallekas is no place for fascists or useful fools" and proceeded to produce chants including “here are the anti-fascists" and "Nazis – no”.
"Today, the shadow of fascism threatens to stink our life and freedom," they added in a statement. "Yesterday, Presa – a confessed enemy of [established club ethos] Rayism for a decade – decided to be the useful fool who would allow Vox to use our stadium as a platform from which to insult and criminalize Vallecas.
Residents of the Madrid barrio of Vallecas - home of Rayo Vallecano - coming out in force to protest an incendiary political rally from far-right Vox ahead of city elections. "Get the fascists out of our neighbourhood." https://t.co/67ucFYOWbg— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) April 7, 2021
Virtue signalling at its very best 👏— Glenn Edwards ⚽️🥊✈️🦮 (@glenn_coin) April 28, 2021
"He is the pawn of those who despise what this team and this neighborhood represents. For his management, his absolute uprooting, his personal war with the fans and for sitting in our box those who despise who we are, we must join hands."
Presa was quoted as telling agency EFE: “[Vox] called saying they wanted to come and showing interest.
"I thought it was good because Rayo is a team open to everyone and Vallecas is a neighborhood that welcomes all people, educated and peaceful."
Why though? Just so weird and unnecessary— Birty (@_Birty) April 28, 2021
the far right is weird and unnecessary— ironman (@mrsecretaccoun2) April 28, 2021
The same fixture had to be called off at half-time last season after the referee said "grave insults and threats" were made towards Ukraine and Albacete forward Roman Zozulya, who some Rayo fans insist is a Nazi.
Zozulya was on the bench for Albacete in their latest visit, having seen a loan move to Rayo canceled within hours in 2017 over fan protests.
In an open letter to Rayo fans at the time, Zozulya blamed "a misunderstanding by a journalist who knows very little about the reality of my country and my own career" for rumors over his involvement in the far-right movement in Ukraine.
TO THE PAST 👀🔙Tonight is #RayoAlbaceteLast season it was stopped & abandoned because of chants from the home fans against Albacete’s #Zozulya They accused him of being a Nazi sympathizer Alleged racist incident in Cadiz Valencia - play or be docked pts 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/QLOA7PqfaZ— Spanish Segunda (@SegundaSpanish) April 26, 2021
Watching scenes from Tuesday that earned more than 500,000 views within hours on Twitter, left and right-leaning observers took to social media to praise and criticize the action, with some labeling the footage "political sh*thousery".
"Bravo Vox, for getting them to do what their mothers couldn't," one commentator said, in a nod to the supposed work-shy nature of the left.
"It is curious that the VOX voter is laughing at workers who work when their leader has not contributed a single day [of labor]," said another.
Far-right Vox leader Santiago Abascal holding a Rayo shirt alongside the club's president Martín Presa is the ultimate provocation against Rayo fans. Completely absurd. pic.twitter.com/jZyT0SUCRO— Panos Kostopoulos (@Panos88K) April 27, 2021
Surely that president will soon be gone now, they hounded Zozulya out of the club for less.— Sam Street (@samstreetwrites) April 27, 2021
"Well, they are VOX voters, we can't demand that their two brain cells work together."
This is not the first time that those in the Vallecas area of the capital Madrid have clashed with VOX, which was founded in 2013 and has been growing in popularity by winning 3.6 million votes in 2019's general election.
In April, protestors came out in force to speak against a rally Vox held ahead of local polls, demanding: "Get the fascists out of our neighborhood."
World Cup winner and former Liverpool legend goalkeeper Pep Reina has often courted controversy for publicly voicing his support for the party, .
Last year, he came under fire for sharing a photo of an anti-lockdown protest held by Vox enthusiasts, commenting: "Ah – well, it seems that few people have gone out to the street, right?"
That post was used to caption a photo of packed streets while Spain battled through the pandemic as one of Europe's hardest-hit countries by Covid-19.Also on rt.com ‘Blond, blue eyes… everything fit’: Toni Kroos says he was labeled ‘NAZI’ after criticizing Ozil over Germany retirement