Police use tear gas to disperse England football fans in Lille, France
“In the last half an hour we have seen quite dramatic scenes. English fans believe that Russian fans incited them,” RT’s Harry Fear reported from Lille.
“At the same time there is some evidence that some English fans incited Russian fans. So at the moment it’s very unclear how the clash in the last half an hour has started."
“Things have started to calm down again… But there are expectations that things could escalate in the coming hours.”
Around 200 English fans were chanting songs insulting Russian fans, AP reports.
At some point a loud noise was heard and bottles were thrown. Police units were quick to arrive at the site.
One man was pinned down to the ground and police made use of tear gas, forcing passersby to hide in a nearby pharmacy.
Police sources said later that some sporadic skirmishes between football fans – both English and Russian – had taken place in the city center.
“We are following the situation and we’ll have more data, however, we are not able to update public every five minutes. The police are constantly stepping in because Russian and English fans are engaging in brawls every now and then,” a source told TASS.
Police also tried to push away a large group of fans congregated at the train station and in an area in front of two nearby bars, who were chanting songs and slogans while burning flares, RIA Novosti reported.
The scuffles come a day before the match between England and Wales, which will take place in the nearby city of Lens.
The clashes came following the match between Russia and Slovakia, during which a flare was lit in the Russian sector.
Earlier in the week, UEFA issued a suspended sentence threatening to disqualify the Russian team from the championship for scuffles with the English fans in the stadium in Marseille.
UEFA is to decide whether to launch a criminal case against the Russian Football Union for the use of flares at around noon on Thursday, a source close to the situation told TASS.