Early Doors

Shocking scenes in Spain as hundreds stage rally to support banana-throwing racist

Early Doors

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The world of football witnessed one of its most extraordinary weeks of anti-racism campaigning over the past seven days, following Barcelona star Dani Alves reacting to a racist taunt in extraordinary manner.

Alves, a Brazilian, was taunted by a racist fan throwing a banana at him - but rather than become enraged, the full-back simply picked the banana up, peeled it, and took a bite before carrying on with the match.

His actions sparked a social media frenzy, with thousands of people posting pictures of themselves eating bananas, and using the hashtag #wereallmonkeys in support of Alves.

The shine was taken off the movement slightly when it emerged that it had been a carefully planned campaign dreamt up by a marketing agency, with "We're all monkeys" t-shirts now on sale for €25 each.

Despite that little bit of cloudy tarnish on the silver cloud, the campaign seemed an overwhelmingly positive step in the fight against racism.

Thursday, however, witnessed an unutterably depressing backwards step: hundreds of people gathered in Spain to protest at the punishments being heaped upon the banana thrower himself, David Campayo.

Campayo, 26 years old and a former youth coach at Villarreal, has been banned by his club and arrested by Spanish authorities - and his angry supporters gathered to tell the world that not only is the punishment unfair and disproportional, it is also tantamount to a media lynching of a man who they insist is "not racist".

They also chanted his name, and paraded banners saying things such as, "turn off the TV, turn on your mind" and "stop persecution, stop disinformation".

Most astonishing of all is this footage, in which Campayo's uncle tells TV stations that Campayo's mum had given him the banana to eat for his dinner; that he'd been having an argument with his girlfriend during the match; and that he'd merely thrown the banana onto the pitch in frustration that was absolutely unrelated to football.

In case you were wondering if other European countries have their version of the lunatics who infest the BNP or UKIP, then wonder no more: in Spain at least, they're alive, well and shouting their lungs out in Villarreal.

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