Seven people were arrested in Spain after a series of racist insults and incidents aimed at a Black soccer player from Brazil, drawing condemnation worldwide, and calls for LaLiga and Spanish government officials to act.
The racist incidents took place before and during a match at Mesthalla Stadium. Vinicius Junior, who was targeted by racist fans, is the top-scoring winger for Real Madrid. During the game, he appeared visibly upset on the field, and pointed at the crowd, seemingly identifying who was hurling the racist insults.
The game was stopped for 10 minutes, with Junior eventually being walked off the field after being given a red flag.
In addition to the racist abuse of the field, videos posted on social media also showed hundreds of Valencia fans singing “Vinicius is a monkey” as the Real Madrid bus arrived at the stadium before Sunday’s match.
The 22-year-old player was also the target of another possible hate incident after an inflatable effigy dressed in the No. 20 jersey he wears for Real Madrid was found hanging from a bridge in front of the team’s training facility.
On Monday, Brazilian officials condemned the racist attacks, pressing Spanish government and FIFA officials to act swiftly.
Four people were reportedly arrested in connection with the effigy. Three men were arrested in relation to the racist abuse during Sunday’s game.
The Spanish Football Federation and LaLiga said on Tuesday both would campaign against racism until the end of the season.
More about the history of racist abuse towards Junior and other Black soccer players can be found here.
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