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Friday, June 10, 2016
Euro 2016 off to violent start as England fans clash with French youths ahead of Russia opener
Violence flared between
and local youths in Marseille last night ahead of the team's
Euro 2016 opener
One Three Lions supporter suffered a serious head injury after being hit across the face with a wooden chair.
Two were arrested - and there are reports of drunken England fans chanting: 'ISIS, where are you?' which led to French Police using tear gas on the crowd.
Eyewitnesses said a group of local men attacked England fans as they drank outside a bar in the city's Old Port.
The man, believed to be in his 30s, being cradled by fellow England fans on a pavement.
Riot police swarmed to the scene on a side street close to the area where fans had been mingling peacefully.
Some Three Lions followers retaliated by attacking local shopkeepers and other youths in the area.
Two England fans were arrested following the disorder.
One French business owner used CS gas to stop England fans getting into his store.
According to reports some England fans were heard chanting: "Isis, where are you?"
England fans clashed with French youths in Marseilles
"They were baiting us, and then attacked,’ said one fan from Leeds, who identified himself as 'Simon'.
"None of the England fans were doing anything wrong – a few of us had a bit much to drink, but that was all.
"Suddenly a French gang appeared and started attacking us, and throwing stuff. We had to defend ourselves, and then the police showed up."
Groups of fans were then seen running in different directions, as restaurants and bars in the area quickly shut doors and pulled down shutters.
Others spoke of their fear as they were targeted by youths brandishing makeshift weapons, and shouting ‘Get the English’.
Chris Lord, another England fan from London, said: "This was a really nasty attack. The gang knew exactly where we were, and clearly wanted to hurt us."
As well as riot police, undercover officers brandishing stun guns and telescopic truncheons picked off anybody behaving badly.
A tear gas canister used by French police to disperse England football fans
Police first responded to the violence at around 11.45pm, and by midnight ambulances were arriving.
It was all a grim reply of the violence in 1998 which happened before and after England’s 1998 World Cup tie with Tunisia in Marseille.
Then, scores of people were hurt, more than 100 ere arrested or deported and some England supporters were later jailed.
Violence flared ahead of England's Euro 2016 opener on Saturday
By the early hours today, police had blocked off roads around the Old Port, using dogs and vans to stop traffic getting through.
Meanwhile, gangs of local thugs could be seen taunting England fans who were trying to get back to hotels.
British football fans are risking an unprecedented security threat in France this week – from hooliganism and terrorism.
It follows warnings from a range of security agencies, ranging from the U.S. State Department to French police that Islamic State terrorists are planning to strike.
Marseille commander Laurent Nunez said the Three Lions 'opening match against Russia on Saturday was also 'a particularly high risk' as fire as football-related violence was concerned.
France remains under a State of Emergency following last November's attack, with thousands of soldiers joining police on the streets.
On Sunday, French President Francois Hollande said that the threat of trouble would not stop the European Championships from being successful.
Mr Hollande said a 90,000-strong security force, including soldiers, would ensure the matches being played in 10 cities will be safe.
The England team are due to arrive in Marseille on Friday, and will stay in a city hotel before Saturday’s game.
Some 70,000 England fans – many without tickets – are expected to be in city over the weekend.
June 10, 2016
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