French police target Russian supporters in French Riviera

Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:32am EDT
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NICE, France (Reuters) - French police have launched an anti-hooligan operation in the town of Mandelieu near Cannes after verifying the identities of 29 Russian supporters suspected of being involved in clashes ahead of a Euro 2016 game between Russia and England, an official said on Tuesday.

"These verifications have been carried out on the basis of intelligence... leading us to think they were present in Marseille," said Xavier Lauch, cabinet director of the prefect of the Alpes Maritimes department.

Several hundred English and Russian fans squared off in Marseille before the Russia v England game last Saturday, 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 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 in their teams' 1-1 draw.

UEFA are due to announce possible sanctions against Russia and England later on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Mathias Galante, writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Hugh Lawson)