Euro 2016: Hundreds arrested over hooliganism in France
French government 'satisfied' with security situation, say ministers
More than 500 people have been arrested since the start of the Euro 2016 football tournament 10 days ago, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed Monday.
Cazeneuve was talking at a news conference with Sports Minister Patrick Kanner in Paris, where he confirmed French police had arrested 557 people to date for violence or other unlawful behavior.
Of this total 344 are in custody, 27 were handed immediate jail sentences and 25 others (mostly Russian nationals) were deported.
The two ministers said the French government was satisfied with the security situation around the competition.
"The situation is overall positive," Kanner said.
Cazeneuve said half of the games were held in a good atmosphere which saw "a large number of fans" coming to support their teams.
However, the beginning of the tournament was marred by violence between Russian hooligans and English supporters in Marseille on June 11; more than 30 people were injured.
German and Ukrainian fans also fought ahead of their game in the northern city of Lille on June.12.
In an attempt to stamp out drink-fuelled 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.
France has been under a state of emergency since 130 people 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.