A man whose controversial drone started a riot at a soccer match between Albania and Serbia last year has been arrested in Albania on the eve of another game between the two teams.
Ismail Morina and 3 others have been arrested by Albanian authorities as part of what the Associated Press is calling a "major security operation on the eve of the return match" between the Albanian and Serbian national soccer teams.
According to the BBC Morina was "detained after giving an interview in which he admitted carrying a gun for protection."
The upcoming match is a qualifier for next year's UEFA EURO tournament. Last October's match was forfeited after Morinaj flew a small drone onto the pitch.
The drone carried a banner described in a recent piece on Morina in the New York Times:
The flag he attached to the drone bore the double-headed black Albanian eagle, a map of Greater Albania — a nationalistic concept that also includes territory in Macedonia, Greece and Serbia — and the date Albania won independence from the Ottomans in 1912. At the bottom was the word Autochthonous, an obscure English word that means indigenous, or native
Albania and Serbia have a troubled history, and so the drone caused rioting and a brawl between the two teams. AP reported last month that "[s]occer authorities in Albania are appealing to fans to be on their best behavior" for the new match.
As for Morina, he also told the Times that he is "a patriot, not a nationalist," and that when it comes to the drone he "chose it to say to the Serbs that it is the Albanians that are native to the Balkans."
Oooooook. So, summing up: Drones: okay, sometimes; nationalist drones that incite widespread rioting: not cool.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org