EURO 2016


Portuguese party on Champs-Elysées amid police clashes

The Champs-Elysées had expected to host a mammoth party for Les Bleus but in the end it was the city's Portuguese community who descended on the famous avenue, where there were also violent clashes between youths and police.

Portuguese party on Champs-Elysées amid police clashes
Riot police on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

In the end the party that all the French had been hoping and praying for never took place.

An extra-time goal by Portugal's Eder meant there were no repeat scenes on 1998 when hundreds of thousands of celebrating French fans descended on the Champs-Elysées to celebrate their team's World Cup victory on home soil.

While defeat in the Euro 2016 final in Paris on Sunday night denied the French their moment to celebrate, it was of course a reason for the country's 1.2 million strong Portuguese community to revel in – especially the 600,000 in the Paris region.

Following the match fans of Cristiano Ronaldo's team descended on the Champs-Elysées to hail Portugal's first victory in a major football tournament.


But amid the celebrations there were also scenes of violence on the Champs-Elysées, where some 3,000 police were on duty to prevent disorder.
The Local's Oliver Gee witnessed bottles and flares being thrown at police by groups of youths. Officers then responded with tear gas. and several baton charges.
“Things turned sour later in the night when youths, who were not carrying Portugal flags, began antagonizing the police. They pelted them with bottles, which prompted the police to fire tear gas into the crowds,” he said.
“Many fans left the area doubled up coughing and in tears from the gas. There were flares and fire crackers constantly going off.” 
Earlier, police fired tear gas during clashes with a group of supporters who were denied entry to the fan zone near the Eiffel Tower.
The clashes took place outside the fan zone, which was closed hours before kick-off after reaching its capacity.
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 at the police lines, AFP photographers said.
The police, who had posted a message on Twitter and issued warnings in the Metro informing supporters the fan zone was full, used a water cannon to extinguish the blazes.
The ground was littered with broken fencing and shattered glass as evening fell, and firefighters were later deployed to put out larger blazes on the streets of Paris near where the clashes took place.
Some of the demonstrators wore French flags knotted around their necks in a sign of support for the home side, but fans donning Portuguese regalia were also seen taking part.
In all French police arrested around 40 people for violence and other offences before and after France's defeat to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final in Paris on Sunday.

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