Euro 2016 violence: Police arrest 36 over Lille disorder

Media captionPolice charge toward England football fans on Wednesday night in Lille

At least 36 people have been arrested in Lille in a day of recurring clashes between French police and football fans at the Euro 2016 tournament.

French police said the arrests had been made throughout Wednesday and added that 16 people had been hospitalised.

On Wednesday evening, riot police charged at hundreds of England football fans as flares and bangers were lit.

The BBC’s James Reevell said tear gas had been used by riot police and it was mostly England fans that were involved.

Earlier, some English and Russian fans were detained after scuffles.

England and Wales supporters are in the city ahead of the teams’ match in nearby Lens on Thursday.

Russian and Slovakian fans are also in Lille, after their match at the city’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Wednesday.


At the scene

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Reuters

By James Reevell, BBC News, in Lille

Darkness brought a dramatic escalation in tensions between English fans and French police.

Hundreds of supporters engaged in scuffles with the police, who used tear gas, flash bangs and baton charges to disperse them.

The fears earlier in the day had been of attacks by hardcore Russian hooligans, but this was very much an English problem.

They sang their chant “Please don’t send me home” and threw bottles in challenge at the police.

After funnelling fans down the city’s streets, the police withdrew and some fans were left to stay in the city centre, if in a less boisterous mood.

It’s unclear what caused the situation to escalate, as earlier in the day the police had been happy to contain the fans and keep them separate.

The city was tense, but disturbances were low-key running battles quickly stopped by the police.

Now the fear is what will happen when ticketless fans watch the England v Wales game in the city tomorrow.


Earlier on Wednesday, hundreds of England fans were surrounded by riot police in the city’s main square.

The fans were then pushed back into the corner of the square by police in riot gear, before the square was cleared.

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Getty Images

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Riot police used baton charges to disperse England fans

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PA

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As night fell, flares and bangers were lit by England fans

England fan Oliver Larkworthy, from Norwich, is in Lille and was caught up when police fired tear gas at fans at the city’s railway station.

“I saw a massive crowd running down the street – English fans, Slovakian fans and locals mainly, a real mix,” he said.

“There is a massive mob of Russian fans standing outside the station just waiting to cause trouble. The whole thing is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s like a massive tinder box waiting to go off any minute.”

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Reuters

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Tear gas was fired by police at fans in Lille on Wednesday evening

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AP

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Police charged at England supporters in Lille

The Russian football team were given a suspended disqualification from the tournament following attacks by their supporters on England fans at their opening fixture in Marseille on Saturday.

Uefa also threatened to disqualify England from Euro 2016 if there was any further violence by fans.

Six England fans, aged 20 to 41, received jail sentences from one to three months, in relation to disorder surrounding the England-Russia game.

On Wednesday, Russia’s foreign ministry summoned the French ambassador to Moscow as well as sharply criticised policing at the Euro 2016 tournament.

“Further stoking of anti-Russian sentiments… could significantly aggravate the atmosphere in Russian-French relations,” the ministry said.

Media captionPolice in Lille use tear gas against Euro 2016 fans

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Getty Images

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There were recurring clashes involving police and fans in Lille on Wednesday

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Getty Images

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Clashes occurred near Lille’s train station earlier in the day

Michel Lalande, prefect of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Picardy region, said a drinking ban was in place in some parts of central Lille and the stadium.

Shops selling alcohol in the city closed from 18:00 local time (17:00 BST) on Tuesday and will reopen at 06:00 (05:00 BST) on Friday, he said.

However, the BBC’s Geraint Owen, in Lille, said small supermarkets were still selling alcohol on Wednesday afternoon, and drinking was taking place openly on the streets.

Vince Alm, of the Football Supporters’ Federation Cymru, said the ban was not enforceable. “There are so many outlets around it’s impossible,” he said.

Fans are being discouraged from travelling if they are without a ticket to the England-Wales game, and the authorities had also asked those with a ticket to delay travel until the day of the game.

Those without match tickets can watch the match in the city’s fan zone, where lower-strength beer will be sold.

Mr Lalande also said anyone carrying out violence would be removed from the country.

British Transport Police officers have been travelling with fans on Eurostar trains on Wednesday.

Eurostar is running some alcohol-free services, with no alcohol allowed through check-in or purchased at departure lounges or on board.


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Euro 2016 violence: Police arrest 36 over Lille disorder

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