This Wednesday, the Public Security Police (PSP) launched an operation against fans occasionally in Lisbon. In total, 30 people were taken into custody – 29 on a warrant and one was taken into custody for possession of a firearm. From what PÚBLICO was able to discover, the operation covers people connected to Benfica and Sporting support groups. Among those arrested are members of Leonine Youth and No Name Boys.
The investigation began in April 2022 after acts of violence were recorded by these radical supporters of the “eagles” and “lions”. In Wednesday’s searches, police seized three firearms and more than 700 rounds of ammunition of various calibers. As far as the seizure of drugs is concerned, the PSP found two kilograms of hashish and 100 grams of heroin during the searches. There are still 500 grams of another substance under analysis. Many pyrotechnic devices were also seized, namely torches, multi-lights and tobacco products.
Those arrested will spend the night at the PSP Metropolitan Command in Lisbon, with the first questioning scheduled for this Thursday.
The PSP states that the police operation “targets the carefree in Portugal”. The supporters are suspected of the offense of assault, between groups of fans and against the police, theft, special damage and participation in a fight.
The movement carefree represents a subculture of hooliganism, originating in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. These radical supporters, often associated with incidents of violence in stadiums, do not wear colors that could identify them as supporters of their respective clubs, trying to go unnoticed and stay off the radar of the authorities. When they travel they travel in small groups and in personal vehicles in order to escape the ‘safe box’ and cause trouble with rival supporters.
One of the most high-profile events associated with this “move” took place in a match between Porto and Sporting in the 2012-2013 season. Bypassing the police check, a group of 100 occasionally linked to the “lions” he spread panic at the Estádio do Dragão, attacked Porto fans and got into fights with members of the Super Dragões. They ended up being detained after trying to force their way into FC Porto’s stadium.
“Motivated by many incidents of violence in Lisbon and other areas of the metropolitan area, in conjunction with the 11th Division of the DIAP in Lisbon, a large-scale operation is being carried out by the criminal investigation in two groups linked to this movement, targeting some of its most active and aggressive elements,” PSP writes in a statement.
Means connected with the criminal investigation were activated, as well as members of the public order teams. There is also support from the National Republican Guard (GNR) in this operation.
Text update at 15:34: change in the number of prisoners and the quantities of materials seized by the PPS