His arm raised in an apparent Nazi salute, a Lithuanian basketball fan goads two black Olympic stewards
The sight was also witnessed by two policemen at a game on Sunday night, but astonishingly they appeared to do nothing about it.
The moment was caught on camera by an English couple who noticed the ‘sickening’ gesture on the other side of the Basketball Arena in the Olympic Park.
While the police insist they are investigating, anti-racism charities have reacted angrily because they believe officers should have acted quicker and removed the fan from the venue.
The man was part of a rowdy group of Lithuanian fans who stood on their feet chanting loudly throughout the first part of their country’s opening basketball game against Argentina on Sunday night.
Spectators said they appeared to have been drinking and had moved over to a section of the stand right alongside the opposing team’s fans.
Stewards and policemen approached the group to ask them to sit down so those behind could see the game.
But as two black male stewards came towards them, one of the Lithuanian fans responded with what appears to have been a racist salute.
Despite the presence of two policemen yards below, the man was allowed to continue to make the gesture until the stewards walked away and down out of the nearest gangway, followed shortly after by the policemen.
One witness at the game, in which Argentina beat Lithuania 102-79, said: ‘I was waiting to see if they [the officers] would do anything. But they didn’t seem to move from their one spot. Eventually they went down the stairs and seemed to emerge from a level below - but the Lithuanian fan was allowed to stay inside.
‘When I saw what the fan was doing I turned to my girlfriend and asked if she also thought it was a salute. If it was a Nazi salute made to two black officials that is sickening. This guy needs to be singled out. The police should have done something. They need to make it abundantly clear they will not stand for this kind of thing.’
He added that the stewards appeared to be ‘calm and professional’ despite being face with what appeared to be the most grotesque abuse.
This summer there were widespread fears within England that black fans travelling to the Euro 2012 football championships in nearby Poland and Ukraine would face a violent frenzy of racist abuse.
Those threats were largely kept at bay, making it all the more embarrassing that officers in London appeared to do nothing when such an incident happened on home soil.
Ged Grebby, chief executive of anti-racism campaigners Show Racism the Red Card, said officers should have thrown the fan out immediately for using such an ‘extreme racist sign’
‘It is a criminal offence. We can’t just let things like this go. It is the kind of behaviour that they should act upon immediately. We encourage the police to take action now,’ he said.
Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism added: ‘The Olympics ideal is all about unity. People should take racism very seriously.
‘It is very disappointing that the man was not at the very least ejected. It’s disgraceful.’ A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said it was aware of the image and was trying to trace those involved.