French police clash with British and Russian football fans

French police used tear gas to disperse soccer fans in Marseille, ahead of the opening match of the Euro 2016 football tournament.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A teargas shell fell near an England fan ahead of England's EURO 2016 match in Marseille, France, June 10, 2016.

The Euro Cup 2016 began on Friday. British and Russian soccer supporters turned violent before the game started. 

French police intervened to end the violence between the two groups.  

The supporters of both sides squared up and hurled taunts at one another in Marseille on Friday.

TV footage showed one bare-chested supporter in the back of a police van and another handcuffed English supporter being frogmarched by two officers along the edge of Marseille's old harbour.

"Officers separated groups of English and Russian supporters," one police source said.

At least two arrests had been made. "They fired tear gas to disperse some drunk Englishmen."

In the 1998 World Cup, England fans were involved in serious disorder over several days in Marseille before and after a match against Tunisia.

About 1,000 police will be deployed in the Mediterranean city as up to 70,000 England fans and 20,000 Russians arrive throughout Friday and Saturday ahead of the match between the two countries.

Late on Thursday night, about 100 England fans and 50 local residents were involved in another fracas in the streets around the Vieux Port (Old Port) area, where several English and Irish bars are located. Chairs were hurled around and windows smashed before police gained control.

The tournament kicks off with France still under a state of emergency after DAESH terrorists launched simultaneous assaults on entertainment venues in Paris in November, killing 130 people.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandet said Friday night's trouble amounted to a scuffle between fans that did not call security measures into question.

British police would work closely with their French counterparts in Marseille and would seek banning orders for any England fans causing trouble, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts said.

The English Football Association condemned the fans' behaviour.

TRTWorld, Reuters