English And Russian Soccer Fans Clash In Euro 2016 Riots In France
The supporters fought each other ahead of a match in the Mediterranean city of Marseille.
Violence broke out between soccer fans in Marseille Saturday, marring the third day in a row that English, Russian and French fans have violently clashed during the Euro 2016 tournament.
The violence between fans and with police started Thursday evening, but the violence escalated Saturday ahead of a match between England and Russia. Six people were arrested Saturday and five others were injured, Sky News reported, citing French police.
One person reportedly suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized during the melee, while another was knocked unconscious, according to Reuters.
Police Commissioner Lawrence Nunez said that approximately 300 Russian and 300 English fans who were “very determined” engaged in the clashes, but that “police presence allowed us to intervene systematically,” Le Monde reported.
Videos posted to social media show massive crowds fighting with their fists and tables and chairs from nearby cafes.
The violence continued inside the Velodrome stadium immediately following the 1-1 tie between Russia and England, according to the Associated Press. Russian fans were seen heading toward the English section after the final whistle.
The Associated Press reported several fans, including children, ran toward the exits of the stadium in panic as violence broke out in the stands.
The Union of European Football Association is expected to consider disciplinary action due to the last three days of violence during the tournament, according to the AP. Russia could be facing the stiffest penalties.
"The FA is very disappointed by the terrible scenes that we saw there and of course condemns such behavior," FA spokesman Mark Whittle told the news agency.
According to the French Minister of the Interior, a British citizen was among the injured during Saturday's clashes.
He was rescued by security officials and taken to a hospital, the statement read.
After the match between the Russian and English teams Saturday, the Russian Minister of Sports downplayed reports of clashes in France, stating that the organizers of the European Championship "need to organize such games properly."
"There was no clash actually," Russian Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko told Russian state-owned TASS. "We are a civilized country. It's fetched. In fact here everything is normal. Game was over and there was no separation. The British got upset of course and everyone got dispersed pretty fast. Everything is normal."
In a statement, French Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve said officials have taken several precautions in anticipation of violence, including preventing more than 3,000 people considered "hooligans" from traveling to France for the tournament.
More than 200 foreign police are assisting French authorities during the tournament.
Officials said that those who have been arrested in connection to the disturbances may be served with a restraining order, preventing them from attending or being near future matches.
Meanwhile, the English Football Association condemned the actions of fans who turned violent before, after and during the games.
"We are really disappointed by the scenes of disorder in Marseille," the statement read. "It is in the hands of the authorities to identify those involved and deal with them appropriately. The FA urges supporters who are traveling to Marseille to act in respectful manner and enjoy the match against Russia."
The National Police attended to those injured in the fights.
There also appeared to be scuffles between visiting fans and local French fans, Reuters reported.
Police armed with batons used dogs, water canons, and tear gas to attempted to tame the crowds.
Fans began clashing as early as Thursday, leaving behind swaths of trash and broken glass.
On Friday, nine people were arrested, according to Reuters. Riot police did not directly intervene with the fights that broke out, and focused instead on containing the action to certain sections of town.
Some bars began denying entrance to English fans. Others have announced that they will not air the game on their televisions.