Chelsea hooligans go on the rampage in Paris
Central Paris erupted in violence as hundreds of Chelsea fans smashed up cafes and shops prior to the Champions League quarter final defeat.
Hundreds of Chelsea football fans went on the rampage in central Paris on Wednesday, smashing up cafes and shops before their Champions League defeat against Paris Saint-Germain.
The worst of the violence was in Rue St Denis, a popular tourist street full of pubs and bars.
Some 400 thugs could be seen making 'Seig Heil' salutes and chanting racist abuse before they started attacking PSG fans.
"We’re trying to contain the violence but it’s spreading,’ said one officer on the scene, as riot units arrived en masse.
Flares were let off, and the small, packed streets was soon filled with thick black smoke.
‘It’s terrifying – I just want to get out of here," said Sarah Avel, a 16-year-old French student. "We could hear the chanting all afternoon but we didn’t expect fighting."
The fans had been drinking for most of the afternoon outside the Frog and Rosbif pub before they moved across the road to The Thistle.
It was there that the fighting started, as some of the fans could be heard chanting English Defence League songs in front of black Parisians.
A group of around 100 fans then ran down the Rue St Denis, towards the Seine river, smashing up anything in their path.
Tables and chairs were destroyed outside the McBride’s Irish pub, and windows were put in. The outside of a clothes shop was also destroyed, while bottles were thrown at evening drinkers sitting in cafes.
Chelsea were allocated around 2000 allocated tickets for the quarter final clash, but many thousands of fans travelled to Paris anyway.
Earlier in the day there were police intelligence reports that some 300 hardcore Chelsea hooligans had entered France via Belgium to avoid detection.