Lille fears violence as Russia and England fans descend

The Local/AFP
The Local/AFP - [email protected]
Lille fears violence as Russia and England fans descend

French police are on high alert in northern Lille as fans from Russia, England and Wales are in town to watch their teams compete in the Euro 2016 tournament.


Police in Lille, northern France, are taking no chances of a repeat of the violence that hit Marseille last week as Russia and England fans clashed.
Officers arrested ten people including Russian supporters before Wednesday's game, which saw Russia go down 2-1 to Slovakia.
While there was no crowd trouble during the match, a flare was briefly lit in the stadium before being extinguished almost immediately.
With the Russians unlikely to be in the best of spirits after the match, the risk for havoc has been magnified by the fact that England fans are also in town for Thursday's game against Wales in nearby Lens. 
Social media reports from the scene in Lille on Wednesday suggest the English haven't held back from antagonizing the Russians, with footage in the tweets below showing England fans chanting "Russia is going home" and singing "Ten German bombers". 
The two sets of supporters made international headlines when they last met in Marseille just days ago, prompting violent clashes that saw more than 30 people injured.
Some 43 Russian fans were arrested after, prompting Russia to summon the French ambassador.
Around 4,000 police were on patrol in Lille on Wednesday, for what French authorities estimated could see more than 70,000 Russian, Slovak, English and Welsh fans in Lille.
There has also been a ban on the sale of alcohol from stores and supermarkets in Lille, a ban that continues until 6am on Friday. 
Around 350 bars in Lille have been told to close each night at midnight. 
On Tuesday, tension was evident in the northern city as rival groups gathered in bars, with a handful of Russian fans briefly throwing chairs and bottles at England fans who were chanting taunts.
Europe's four-yearly football extravaganza has been marred by such scenes between the Russia and England fans, which prompted UEFA to tell Russia on Tuesday it will be kicked out of the tournament if its fans cause more stadium trouble.
Europe's governing body found Russia responsible for the stadium disorder and ordered the "suspended disqualification" of the team.
It also fined the Russian Football Union 150,000 euros ($170,000).
But the fines and Uefa threats may not have had their desired effects. One Russian supporter told AFP: "If the English are brave enough to come, we'll crush them. We hate the English."

But another Russian fan, Stanislav, said: "We are here for the game, not for the conflict."

Russian authorities have accused France of failing to curtail clashes between fans in Marseille and have stressed that England supporters were also to blame.

Lille braced for influx of English, Welsh and Russians


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