Moscow summons French ambassador over 'anti-Russian' Euro 2016
By Philip O'Connor and Jack Stubbs
LILLE/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Soccer rivalry and fan violence spilled into global politics as Moscow summoned the French ambassador over detentions of Russians at Euro 2016 and warned an "anti-Russian" mood could even damage relations between Russia and France.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused other countries' soccer fans of "absolutely provocative actions" at the tournament, such as trampling on the Russian flag.
The epicenter of soccer violence at Euro 2016 meanwhile moved from the south of France to the far north. Police used pepper spray and tear gas to disperse English fans on Wednesday near the station in the northern city of Lille, a police source said.
They intervened after fans starting running in all directions following a detonation of unknown origin, the source told Reuters. Earlier, police pushed away a group of English fans when they became "threatening".
Tense scenes continued throughout Wednesday evening. Police used tear gas again against a small crowd of rowdy England fans in central Lille.
Authorities had flooded the city with police ahead of the next matches for Russia and England in the soccer tournament.
Four Russian fans were arrested in Lille and were to be deported after being detained before Wednesday's game between Russia and Slovakia, which the Russians lost 2-1.
"Two of the Russians were arrested yesterday evening during a fight in Lille and two after being found drunk in a car with weapons," a spokesperson at the Lille prefecture said. The weapons were wooden sticks, a police source said. Continued...