Euro 2016: French bring in measures to stem hooliganism
Ban on alcohol sales, better segregation announced following violence at games
More than 100 people have been arrested as French police try to rein in the violence that has marred the opening stages of Euro 2016, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said late Sunday.
In a statement, he said 116 had been arrested since Friday, 63 of who remain in police custody. Cazeneuve said three people had been deported and five others barred from entering France for public order reasons.
In Marseilles, the Mediterranean port city that has seen clashes between French, English and Russian fans, Chief Prosecutor Brice Robin said six Britons, three French nationals and an Austrian were to appear in court on Monday on charges related to football violence.
Ugly scenes on Saturday night saw Russian hooligans attack English fans in the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, with more than 30 injured, one who is still in a critical but stable condition.
Robin said a group of 150 Russians was responsible for much of the violence in Marseille. UEFA has laid charges against Russia, accusing fans of crowd disturbances, racist behavior and throwing fireworks and missiles. A decision on any punishment is expected Tuesday.
German and Ukrainian fans also fought ahead of their game in the northern city of Lille on Sunday night.
In an attempt to stamp out drunken violence, the government has introduced a ban on the sale of alcohol around stadia and “sensitive areas” when games are being played or screened in fan zones. It also announced measures to prevent “dangerous” supporters from entering stadia and better segregate rival fans before games.
Cazeneuve condemned the violence at a time when the French police are stretched to deal with possible terrorist threats. “Their actions distract the police from their primary mission,” he said.
France has been under a state of emergency since 130 were killed in November’s Paris attacks and security around the tournament has been boosted to cope with the risk of terrorism.
Up to 100,000 police and security personnel are on duty for the tournament, with France and UEFA footing the 24 million euro ($27 million) bill as an estimated seven million fans flock to the month-long contest.
Meanwhile, local media reported a Northern Ireland fan died in the southern city of Nice in the early hours of Monday after he fell over a seaside railing. The Nice Matin newspaper said the 24-year-old hit his head following his side’s game against Poland, which was also marred by violence involving visiting fans and locals.