Thousands mourn death of French soccer fan attacked by Serbian hooligans

By Jovana Gec, AP
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Serbians mourn death of young French soccer fan

BELGRADE, Serbia — Thousands gathered in downtown Belgrade on Wednesday to mourn the death of a 28-year-old French soccer fan who was fatally beaten by Serbian hooligans.

The city observed a day of mourning as people lined up at a central square to light candles and lay flowers for Brice Taton, who died in a Belgrade hospital on Tuesday.

Taton died of brain and other injuries he suffered during the Sept. 17 attack before the Europa League match between Partizan Belgrade and French club Toulouse.

Ten people were arrested as suspects in the attack. They are expected to be charged with first-degree murder and face up to 40 years in prison.

An investigative judge questioned Taton’s parents on Wednesday as part of an investigation into their son’s death. French sports minister Rama Yade was expected in Belgrade to meet Serbian officials investigating the attack.

The Frenchman’s death has sparked public outrage and rekindled a debate about the country’s ability to overcome its violent past following the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

“It is time we all take our share of responsibility,” said 41-year-old linguist Radmila Maslovic. “I came to express my protest and deep sadness.”

More protest marches against far-right groups, which have recently attacked foreigners and gay activists, are scheduled for this week in the capital.

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