German soccer club FC Energie Cottbus slammed the behavior of a group of their fans on Monday after a picture showing them in Ku Klux Klan-style hoods went viral, Deutsche Welle reported.
"We are deeply saddened by the fact that a few people, through their actions, spoiled the joy of victory and damaged the image of tens of thousands of Energie fans and the club," a statement said.
The club's representatives called their supporters' behavior "inhumane, repugnant and in no way tolerable" and pledged to impose a life-long ban on them if identified.
The image, which sparked vivid debate across the country, depicts five or six fans wearing white face-covering hoods and holding a placard that has "the rise of evil" inscription on it.
Dieses Foto soll Anhänger von @nur_energie zeigen, die während der heutigen Aufstiegsfeierlichkeiten in #Cottbus im Stil des Ku-Klux-Klan posierten. #kkk #scwfce #cottbus #nazis #b2705 #nazisrausausdenstadien pic.twitter.com/FkZLclFJxG— Jüdisches Forum (@JFDA_eV) 27 мая 2018 г.
The wrongdoers reportedly celebrated Energie Cottbus' promotion to the third tier of the Bundesliga. The club won it in Sunday's 0-0 game with SC Weiche Flensburg.
Police said they have launched inquiry into the incident, but haven't provided any further information. It is still unknown who took the picture.
The Ku Klux Klan movement emerged in the United States and dates back to the 19st century. The movement advocated a radical ideology advocating the supremacy of white people, discrimination against other races and anti-immigration.
The use of right-wing symbols has become widespread in East German cities following the heavy influx of migrants into the country in 2015. The rise of right-wing sentiments has become especially evident after a series of knife attacks committed by migrants on German soil.