Wednesday 25 April 2018

England fans sing about IRA and German bombers, clash with riot police while Russians scream 'we will see you tomorrow'

An England fan is surrounded by tear gas during a clash in Marseille (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
An England fan is surrounded by tear gas during a clash in Marseille (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
An England fan is detained by riot police ahead of England's Euro 2016 match in Marseille
Local youths and supporters clash ahead of England's EURO 2016 match against Russia in Marseille6. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Tom White

England football fans were involved in yet more ugly exchanges in the French port town of Marseille last night, as a second night of fighting and violence saw supporters pelting missiles from a roadside brasserie.

There are now major fears of disturbance ahead of tonight's game between England and Russia.

A tear gas canister explodes next to a football fan as England fans clash with police in Marseille on June 10, 2016 in Marseille, France. Football fans from around Europe have descended on France for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
A tear gas canister explodes next to a football fan as England fans clash with police in Marseille on June 10, 2016 in Marseille, France. Football fans from around Europe have descended on France for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
An England fan hurls a chair ahead of England's EURO 2016 match in Marseille, France, June 10, 2016. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
An England supporter shouts out in downtown Marseille, France, Friday, June 10, 2016. England supporters clashed with locals ahead of Saturday's European Championship match between England and Russia at the Stade Velodrome.(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A teargas grenade explodes near an England fan ahead of England's EURO 2016 match in Marseille, France, June 10, 2016. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 10: An England football fan fights with a local person as England fans clash with police in Marseille on June 10, 2016 in Marseille, France. Football fans from around Europe have descended on France for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 10: An England football fan fights with a local person as England fans clash with police in Marseille on June 10, 2016 in Marseille, France. Football fans from around Europe have descended on France for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 10: England football fans shout as they clash with police in Marseille on June 10, 2016 in Marseille, France. Football fans from around Europe have descended on France for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 10: England football fans run toward other football fans as England fans clash with police and local football supporters in Marseille on June 10, 2016 in Marseille, France. Football fans from around Europe have descended on France for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 10: England football fans cover their faces as tear gas is fired as fans clash with police in Marseille on June 10, 2016 in Marseille, France. Football fans from around Europe have descended on France for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Disturbing footage from Marseille - the focal point for many Three Lions supporters ahead of Saturday's Euro 2016 match against Russia - showed a group of fans shouting "have it" as they pelted objects into the street from the Red Eagle on Friday night.

Some supporters lobbed bottles and chairs from the venue - with the odd missile simply striking the canopy above them - while the background was illuminated by a raging bright light from a powerful flare at the entrance of the building.

A man (nationality unknown) who was set upon by others, swims to shore after they threw him in to the harbour, in the old town area of Marseille
A man (nationality unknown) who was set upon by others, swims to shore after they threw him in to the harbour, in the old town area of Marseille

Police could be seen gathered a short distance away.

Earlier, officers deployed tear gas in an effort to disperse the troublemakers but the ugly skirmishes continued as darkness fell.

Read more: Video: England fans sing 'No Surrender to the IRA' outside Irish Bar in Marseille

In scenes reminiscent of the dark days of hooliganism, bare-chested England fans threw beer bottles at police dressed in full riot gear as frequent, short-lived confrontations marred the start of the European Championships.

Fist fights broke out between English-, French- and Russian-speaking men, and one man was thrown into the harbour after he was beaten to the ground by local fans.

Police with helmets, batons and shields stood shoulder to shoulder along the cobbled street facing a line of England fans, some of whom threw bottles. One fan wearing a red England shirt was handcuffed and arrested.

The violence first broke out at around 6.20pm French time  yesterday outside the Queen Victoria pub in the Old Port district where England fans had been drinking for most of the day.

Fans sang songs about the IRA, German bombers being shot down and the national anthem.

The start of the tournament, officially marked by a 2-1 win for the hosts over Romania in Paris on Friday evening, was instead overshadowed by images of brawls between rival supporters, violence and confrontations with local police.

A group of 20 Russian men in their 20s were led away by police, but screamed: "We will see you tomorrow".

Read more: 'Look out for each other, stay together... keep in touch with people at home' - Garda chief issues advice to traveling Irish fans

About 1,000 police will be deployed in the Mediterranean city as up to 70,000 England fans and 20,000 Russians arrive ahead of the match between the two countries tonight.

One England supporter suffered a head injury in Thursday night's brawl after being hit across the face with a wooden chair, and according to reports, some England fans were heard chanting: "Isis, where are you?"

As the disorder lurched into another day, bare-chested England fans could be seen dodging the gas deployed by police as an afternoon of drinking and singing turned into an ugly stand-off with police.

Police with helmets, batons and shields grappled troublemakers to the ground amid beer bottles and rubbish strewn across the cobbled streets.

While the disturbances were often violent, they were also often short-lived.

And although bottles being lobbed in various directions sent crowds of supporters fleeing, the French gendarmerie were quick to separate rival groups of fans and clear the danger areas.

Each time, it left staff working in the local tourist trade to clear up the aftermath, with broken bottles, debris and litter strewn across roads and pavement.

And after a brief period of quiet, it was not long before football chants were heard again.

Press Association

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