World Cup 2014

Jubilant Algeria fans take over Champs-Elysées

Jubilant Algeria fans take over Champs-Elysées
Algeria fans blocked the Champs-Elysées on Thursday night celebrating their historic World Cup qualification.Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP
Thousands of Algeria fans took to the streets of cities across France on Thursday night to celebrate their team's historic qualification for the knock-out stages of the World Cup. While the mood remained mainly festive there were outbreaks of trouble with police making 74 arrests.

Thousands of football fans descended onto the Champs-Elysées in Paris on Thursday night to celebrate a famous World Cup result. But it wasn't fans of France's 'Les Bleus' swarming the famous avenue but those of Algeria after their team's historic result against Russia.

The Desert Foxes as they are known came from behind to draw 1-1 with Russia, which was enough to see them qualify from their World Cup group for the first time in their history.

As soon as the final whistle went thousands of fans descended onto the Champs-Elysées in Paris, where they remained until the early hours of Friday morning.

Le Parisien newspaper reported that the famous avenue was completely blocked at 2am as cars, filled with flag waving Algerians, brought traffic to a halt. 

Fans hung out of car windows or on the back of scooters as a cacophony of beeping horns filled the night.

Champs-Elysées : scènes de liesse des… par leparisien

There was a high police presence in the area with hundreds of riot cops on duty to prevent any disorder. Reports say the mood of the crowd remained festive even if police were forced to fire tear gas into the crowd at times.

There were similar scenes in Marseille and Lyon however the celebrations were tarnished by outbreaks of trouble with dozens of cars being burned.

("74 Arrests after the qualification of Algeria", read the headline in the Le Monde)

Three police officers in Lyon were injured in skirmishes with fans, a minority of whom hurled missiles at officers.

"Groups took advantage of the crowds to create disorder," an officer told Le Monde newspaper.

Lyon's authorities had earleir banned a far-right youth group from holding an "anti-hooligan" march in the city.

Police in Marseille also had to charge groups of supporters that had gathered in the Old Port. 

There were also reports of shops being vandalised and cars being burned in the north of the country around the town of Roubaix.

On Friday morning police said they had made 74 arrests across the country.

It comes after trouble flared following Algeria's win over South Korea in their previous group match on Sunday.

Algeria will now play Germany in the last 16 on Monday night, hours after France take on Nigeria. Police will be out in force in town centres across the country.

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