Euro 2016 violence spreads to second French city
By Mitch Phillips
MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - Violent clashes between fans spread to a second French city on Saturday, tainting the opening days of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament and raising questions among supporters over policing tactics.
Several hundred English and Russian fans squared off in Marseille, hurling beer bottles and chairs and drawing volleys of tear gas from riot police who struggled to contain the skirmishes in the narrow streets of the Vieux Port (Old Port).
Later, in scenes that could draw sanctions from European soccer's governing body, UEFA, Russian supporters charged their English counterparts inside Marseille's Stade Velodrome moments after the final whistle of their teams' 1-1 draw.
England fans were forced to scale fences to escape the charge, while shocking pictures of a father trying to protect his young son while masked Russian fans were kicking and punching retreating fans around him went viral and left fans fuming at the authorities' failure to intervene.
The Russian team could now face an anxious wait after the crowd trouble. Four years ago Russia was sanctioned and handed a suspended six-point deduction following crowd trouble in Poland at Euro 2012.
Meanwhile, along the Mediterranean coast, Northern Irish fans were involved in a ugly exchanges with locals in the city of Nice that left seven people hurt.
European soccer's governing body, UEFA, condemned the day's events. "People engaging in such violent acts have no place in football," it said in a statement.
Marseille's emergency services said 31 people were injured in Saturday's disorder, including one middle-aged man who was knocked unconscious, and one England supporter who suffered a heart attack. Continued...