New fan clashes before England-Russia game in Marseille

Marseille (AFP) – Football fans hurled bottles and other objects at French police who responded with tear gas in a second day of trouble Friday ahead of the England-Russia European Championship match in Marseille.

Police intervened to separate several dozen English and Russian fans outside bars in the Vieux Port district, Laurent Nunez, the regional head of police, told AFP.

Several fans were arrested, he said.

The disturbances came one day before England take on Russia at the Velodrome stadium on day two of the tournament.

The police subsequently told pubs and restaurants on the quay to close for the evening after the troubles.

Several hundred supporters, many drunk and bare-chested, remained at the scene afterwards, surrounded by riot police.

The ground was covered in broken glass and drink cans.

On Thursday, around 250 England supporters who had been drinking at the Vieux Port clashed with police outside a bar, pelting them with cans before being repelled with tear gas.

The England fans also fought French youths. One English fan needed hospital treatment for a minor injury.

A 24-year-old Englishman was detained over the incident but later released.

A 30-year-old Frenchman was arrested on suspicion of stealing an England football shirt.

Seven people were slightly injured in all on Thursday, including four police.

England manager Roy Hodgson said he knew nothing of the troubles but told reporters: “My message to the fans is very simple.

“The support has been fantastic, both home and away. We hope they’re going to come out and support us the way they always do.”

The English FA condemned the fan trouble before the latest incidents.

“We are really disappointed by the scenes of disorder in Marseille yesterday evening and condemn such behaviour,” said an FA statement.

“It is in the hands of the authorities to identify those involved and deal with them appropriately.

“The FA urges supporters who are travelling to Marseille to act in a respectful manner and enjoy the match against Russia.”

England-Russia on Saturday is the first Euro 2016 game in Marseille, which is determined to avoid a repeat of events during the 1998 World Cup when English hooligans clashed with Tunisia supporters in the Mediterranean city.

That year’s violence was among the worst ever at a major football tournament.

 

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