Eiffel Tower closes after riots at fan zone

Eiffel Tower closes after riots at fan zone
Photo: AFP
The Eiffel Tower remained closed to the public on Monday a day after youths clashed with police in the area, lighting bonfires and throwing bottles.

The Eiffel Tower was closed to the public on Monday after clashes between fans and police at the Parisian landmark during the Euro 2016 final, its operator said.

The Eiffel Tower management said the tower could “not be opened in the proper security conditions” after the clashes in which youths set alight rubbish bins, a car and a scooter before being dispersed by police with tear gas and water cannon.

On Sunday crowds of supporters, some donning French or Portuguese flags, gathered at the base of the Paris landmark before and after Portugal's stunning 1-0 victory over France after they were refused entry to the fan zone which was packed to its 90,000 capacity, Paris police said.

The base of the Eiffel Tower was engulfed in clouds of tear gas as riot police repelled the youths, who started fires on the pavement and threw bottles and other objects at the police lines, AFP photographers said. Police in riot gear faced off with crowds, as at least one police truck fired water at demonstrators.

The police, who had posted a message on Twitter and issued warnings in the Metro informing supporters the fan zone was full, used water cannon to extinguish the blazes.

The ground was littered with broken fencing and shattered glass as evening fell, with piles of rubbish burning and firefighters were later deployed to put out larger blazes on the streets of Paris, including at least one car that was set on fire.

Almost seven million people — around 20,000 a day — bought tickets to the Eiffel Tower in 2015, 80 percent of them coming from abroad to clamber up the skirts of the French capital's “Iron Lady”.

The figures make the Eiffel Tower one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world as well as a symbol of the city — a far cry from its origins as a temporary structure built for the 1889 Universal Exhibition.

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