Fans clash with police amid tense scenes in French city of Lille

Fans clash with police amid tense scenes in French city of Lille

Published Jun. 16, 2016 5:19 a.m. ET

Violence erupted in the streets of Lille on Wednesday as football supporters clashed with French police in tense scenes.

Flares and bangers were lit as officers charged at chanting fans, spraying tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds.

Officers used pepper spray against an England fan who ran towards them, as fights appeared to break out among Three Lions supporters.

Despite bars being shut many supporters defied a ban on drinking in the street.


Some were seen climbing road signs and while English police - sent out to help with the security operation - urged fans to behave, French police charged at them repeatedly.

Earlier on Wednesday evening a small group of people wearing Russian Ultra T-shirts threw a flare at a large group of England fans who then surged towards them.

The Russians left the scene and the remaining British fans were tear-gassed, prompting them to hold their shirts over their mouths as they left the scene rubbing their eyes and spitting.

In footage posted online by ex-England footballer Stan Collymore, one man wearing a green hat was seen smashing wing mirrors off cars parked on the street.

Collymore said: "Somebody threw a, not a grenade, something that went bang, towards some England fans and the England fans have just run."

He later pointed to a man who was pinned down in the road by police, and said: "You were throwing bottles. Yes."

Away from the main square a group of England fans, who were comparatively quiet, were surrounded by police as they drank outside Cafe Oz. The officers parked more than 10 vans and a police bus in the square around them.

A large number of fans congregated outside one of the bars near the Lille Flandres station, with dozens of police officers with riot shields standing guard.

The crowd chanted God Save The Queen and England Til I Die, as well as singing "Where were you in Marseille?" towards the assembled police.

Elsewhere a group of England fans outside the railway station in Lille were penned in by police when one of them lit a flare and began to wave it as they chanted.

Fans from England, Wales, Slovakia and Russia have been gathering in the city for their Group B matches.

Police have made 36 arrests and authorities said 16 people have been treated in hospital but gave no details about their injuries or ailments.


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