Page last updated at 11:18 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 12:18 UK

French fan dies after Serb attack

Toulouse player Andre-Pierre Gignac wears a T-Shirt in support of Brice Taton, file pic from 20 September 2009
The attack prompted an outpouring of sympathy from fans and players

A French football fan attacked in Belgrade this month, apparently by Serb hooligans, has died in hospital.

Brice Taton, 28, was attacked in a Belgrade bar ahead of the Europa League match between Partizan Belgrade and Toulouse on 17 September.

Days later an Australian man, 25, was attacked in a Belgrade park.

The attacks have raised concerns of a surge in extremist violence in Serbia, where police have arrested dozens of members of far-right groups this year.

Last Friday night, a Libyan man was taken to hospital with a head injury after he was attacked by an unidentified group.

Meanwhile, a gay pride march planned for this month - Belgrade's first since a march in 2001 descended into chaos amid widespread violence - had to be called off as authorities said they could not guarantee participants' safety.

'Shadow on Serbia'

Brice Taton received numerous head and chest injuries when French fans were attacked in the Irish Pub in central Belgrade by a 30-strong group armed with iron bars and baseball bats, Reuters reported.

Two other French fans were injured in the attack.

Police arrested 11 suspects two days later, 10 of whom were remanded in custody, Serb news website B92 reported.

French Sports Minister Rama Yade has called on Serbian authorities not to let the crimes go unpunished.

Such events, especially the lynching of Brice Taton, cast a shadow on Serbia's image in the world
Jean Francois Terral
French ambassador to Serbia

Jean Francois Terral, France's ambassador in Belgrade, said he was dismayed Serbia had not found a way to deal with extremist groups thought to be behind such attacks.

"I am shocked at a certain [complacency] towards this phenomenon, especially the statements that deny the need to break up these groups, which in the end leads to them being able to act freely," Mr Terral told the Serb daily newspaper Blic.

"Such events, especially the lynching of Brice Taton, cast a shadow on Serbia's image in the world."

Last week Serbia's public prosecutor asked the constitutional court to ban two far-right groups suspected of involvement in attacks and the threats against the gay pride march.

Toulouse supporters were reportedly gathering outside the team's stadium on Tuesday to pay their respects to their fellow fan.

The French first division side won the Europa League Group J opening fixture against Partizan, the Serb champions, 3-2.

Two years ago Partizan were suspended from the competition's predecessor, the Uefa Cup, after clashes between fans in Bosnia.

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