French riot police fire tear gas at UK, Russian fans

FRENCH police have fired tear gas at England and Russia supporters as fresh clashes spilled onto the streets in Lille amid growing fears that violence between rival fans could escalate.

Footage showed supporters running through the centre of Lille as riot police moved in to attempt to ease the tension following the outbreak of fights at Vieux Port in Marseille at the weekend.


This evening's incidents come after Uefa, the European football governing body, handed Russia with a suspended disqualification from the European Championship after their fans charged at the England section at the Stade Velodrome.

Unconfirmed reports from north France suggest a loud bang was heard, forcing the crowds to surge through the streets before clashing with police in the city centre. Some bars and restuarants have closed early for business. Uefa cannot punish countries for violence outside of stadia but the scenes in Lille will alarm both the Football Association and the Russian Football Union.

Russia played Slovakia in Lille this afternoon, with England preparing to face Wales tomorrow in nearby Lens. With the two cities being just 25 miles apart, and authorities advising British visitors to book hotels in Lille, the fresh violence confirms fears that conflicts would break out again.

Earlier, 29 Russian football fans were deported in relation to the clashes before, during and after the 1-1 draw between the two nations on Saturday night in Marseille.

Six England fans have been handed jail sentences and given two-year bans from travelling to France after 35 people were injured on Saturday.

As reported by The Independent, up to 300 Russian hooligans have travelled to France armed with martial arts gloves and gum shields intent on attacking rival supporters.

Meanwhile, Jean-Maurice Ripert, the French ambassador to Russia, was this afternoon summoned by the Russian Foreign Ministry over the detention of their supporters this week.

Topics:  police soccer

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