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England fans riot

International Sports

Engalnd fans riot ahead of England -Russia game. BBCEngalnd fans riot ahead of England -Russia game. BBCEngland fans rioted Saturday at the Old Port in Marseille and police used tear gas for a third straight day in an attempt to disperse rowdy crowds only hours before England was to play Russia at the European Championship.

At least five people were wounded in the fighting, some with blood dripping from their heads.

Russian fans were also involved in the fighting.

Later in the day, police used a water cannon to disperse fans.

TV footage showed scenes of violence, including fans throwing chairs yanked from restaurant terraces and scuffling on a staircase, where one man was seen kicking another one down the stairs.

About 2 1/2 hours before the game, there were still fights breaking out in the Old Port. It was unclear who exactly was fighting.

Alexander Shprygin, head of the All-Russian Fans’ Union, a body with backing from the Russian government and soccer authorities, told The Associated Press by telephone that the police had broken up fights between English and Russian supporters.

“The reason (for the fighting) was that the English are drinking a lot and are behaving badly,” Shprygin said.

Fans of Russian clubs Lokomotiv Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg were “active” in the fighting, Shprygin said, but would not comment on whether a group of Russian fans had attacked English supporters.

Regional police chief Laurent Nunez told French media that five people had been wounded and six people arrested during the fighting.

Two television stations have reported that one of those wounded had suffered a heart attack during one of the melees, although they gave no further details.

Across town at the Stade Velodrome, the situation remained calm amid heavy security. Lines of police were drawn up outside, sirens blared and a mobile water cannon was parked outside.

As kickoff neared, more riot police arrived with shields.


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