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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 18 January 2022

French police fire tear gas at English soccer fans in Lille

Thousands of English fans have gathered in Lille ahead of their match in the nearby city of Lens tomorrow.

English fans run after getting sprayed with pepper spray by French police during scuffles in downtown Lille, northern France, earlier today.
English fans run after getting sprayed with pepper spray by French police during scuffles in downtown Lille, northern France, earlier today.
Image: AP

FRENCH POLICE USED tear gas to disperse English soccer fans at the European Championship earlier today, the fourth time England fans have been involved in violent incidents since the start of the tournament.

After a match between Russia and Slovakia ended in the north French city of Lille, police chased large groups of English fans through the back streets around the city’s main railway station.

A group of about 200 English fans had been getting progressively rowdier and noisier, singing songs taunting Russia, when a loud explosion was heard and some bottles were thrown.

Police appeared to make at least one arrest, pinning a man against the ground.

Police then charged, spraying tear gas in front of them as they ran. Some bystanders took refuge in a nearby pharmacy.

England plays in the nearby city of Lens tomorrow and thousands of their supporters have gathered in Lille.

Soccer Euro 2016 England England gather outside a bar in downtown Lille. Source: AP


The repercussions to violence in the southern city of Marseille last week involving English and Russian supporters continued today.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the French ambassador to protest the detention of Russian soccer fans in southern France.

The ministry said the decision by the Marseille prosecutor to hold the Russians for 48 hours pending investigation was “discriminatory.”

It warned that “further fanning of anti-Russian sentiments over our team’s participation in the European Championship could significantly strain the atmosphere of Russian-French ties.”

The Russians were detained yesterday near Nice as they were heading by bus to Lille for today’s match against Slovakia.

Local authorities said police stopped the fans to see whether any hooligans were among them.

Equal treatment

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said Moscow hoped UEFA will give equal treatment to all those responsible for fan violence.

Dmitry Peskov also voiced hope today that the Euro 2016 will continue without any further “excesses”.

UEFA has threatened to expel Russia and England from the tournament if their fans are involved in any more trouble.

The French police action in Lille followed violent clashes between Russia and England fans in Marseille ahead of their European Championship opener, a 1-1 draw on Saturday night.

Soccer Euro 2016 Russia Slovakia Russian fans celebrate and light a flare during the Russia vs Slovakia match earlier today. Source: AP

Russia lost to Slovakia 2-1 today.

In Lille, Russian and Slovakian fans stayed clear of trouble as they left the Stade Pierre Mauroy and returned to the city centre after their match.

Setting off a flare in the final 10 minutes of the game was the only notable example of misbehaviour by Russian fans.

Read: Bloody Marseille brawling: The ugly hooliganism eclipsing Euro 2016

Read: Shocking GoPro footage of Russian hooligans attacking English fans

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Associated Press

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