Fans displayed banners and held up thousands of Palestine flags during their team’s UEFA Champions League game against Atletico Madrid.

Fans of Scotland’s Celtic Football Club have defied their club’s orders and waved thousands of Palestine flags during their team’s UEFA Champions League game against Atletico Madrid.

The Scottish Premiership champions hosted the Spanish club for their group stage game at Celtic Park in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Hours before the game, the club issued a statement saying that players and coaching staff from both teams would wear black armbands “as a sign of respect and support for all those affected by the conflict.” [between Israel and Palestine]“, but asked fans not to show their support in the stands.

“We ask that banners, flags and symbols relating to the conflict and the countries involved in it are not currently displayed at Celtic Park,” the club said in its statement.

However, fans did not pay attention to the instructions and held up thousands of Palestine flags before kick-off and continued to wave them throughout the game.

Celtic fans wave a Palestinian flag and display a banner reading “Liberate Palestine” before the game against Atletico Madrid. [Russell Cheyne/Reuters]

Fans in the North Curve area of ​​the stadium prepared a tifo – a choreographed display – of the Palestinian flag and unfurled large flags behind the home team’s goal during the first half of the game.

Several thousand fans in other parts of the stadium held a sea of ​​smaller flags, sang the famous soccer anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and shouted slogans in support of Palestine before the game began.

The Green Brigade, an Ultras group of die-hard Celtic fans, had encouraged their supporters to oppose the club’s statement and continue their solidarity with the Palestinians.

“Raise the flag for Palestine”

Celtic have banned the group from attending their team’s away games until further notice after they behaved in “unsafe and unacceptable” ways in recent away games at Motherwell and Feyenoord.

The group said hundreds of fans had been banned from attending away games “due to an association with the Green Brigade; although I have not received any correspondence, allegations or details of an investigation.”

“Despite disingenuous claims, we have absolutely no doubt that these sanctions are motivated by a desire to suppress political expression within the Celtic support, particularly in relation to Palestine at this time,” the group said in its statement on Tuesday.

“Despite this and all other obstacles, we once again encourage fans to boldly raise the flag for Palestine.”

Celtic were fined by UEFA last month over their fans’ use of flares during the game at Feyenoord and could face another fine for last night’s show of solidarity with Palestine.

Earlier this month, Celtic’s board distanced itself from the group after they put up banners reading “Liberate Palestine” and “Victory to the Resistance!!” during the Scottish Premiership match against Kilmarnock in Glasgow on October 7th.

“No contact with what is important”

Fans criticized the club, saying Wednesday’s support had been expressed by “a large proportion” of fans and not just the Green Brigade.

Others criticized the association’s actions on the grounds that it had “lost touch with what was important” and continued to show its solidarity.

Paul Doherty – a politician from Northern Ireland – posted a photo of himself holding the flag at Celtic Park on X, formerly Twitter.

“Tonight we stand alongside 60,000 Celtic supporters in solidarity with the people of Palestine,” he wrote in the post.

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