Euro 2016: Police use tear gas on fans after Lille fighting

Police in Lille have used tear gas on fans following fights in the city centre.

Supporters were seen running through the streets as police chased large groups of English fans through the back streets around the city's main railway station.

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

A large group, including about 200 English fans who had been singing songs taunting Russia, had congregated at the Place des Reignaux.

Officers used the spray and let off a canister, and a loud bang was also heard.

Supporters held their shirts over their mouths and left the scene rubbing their eyes and spitting.

Around 10 men wearing Russian Ultra T-shirts were seen walking away from the area.

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

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

The bang caused the crowd to surge forward, and they dispersed as police fired tear gas.

This is the fourth time England fans have been involved in violent incidents since the start of the tournament.

Police appeared to make at least one arrest, pinning a man against the ground. Police then charged, spraying tear gas in front of them as they ran. Some bystanders took refuge in a nearby pharmacy.

England play in the nearby city of Lens on Thursday and thousands of their supporters have gathered in Lille.

The repercussions to violence in the southern city of Marseille last week involving English and Russian supporters continued on Wednesday.

Russia's Foreign Ministry summoned the French ambassador to protest the detention of Russian fans in southern France.

The ministry said the decision by the Marseille prosecutor to hold the Russians for 48 hours pending investigation was "discriminatory." It warned that "further fanning of anti-Russian sentiments over our team's participation in the European Championship could significantly strain the atmosphere of Russian-French ties."

The Russians were detained on Tuesday near Nice as they were heading by bus to Lille for Wednesday's match against Slovakia. Local authorities said police stopped the fans to see whether any hooligans were among them.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said Moscow hoped UEFA will give equal treatment to all those responsible for fan violence.

Dmitry Peskov also voiced hope on Wednesday that the Euro 2016 will continue without any further "excesses."

UEFA has threatened to expel Russia and England from the tournament if their fans are involved in any more trouble.

The French police action in Lille followed violent clashes between Russia and England fans in Marseille ahead of their European Championship opener, a 1-1 draw on Saturday night.

In Lille, Russian and Slovakian fans stayed clear of trouble as they left the Stade Pierre Mauroy and returned to the city centre after their match.

Setting off a flare in the final 10 minutes of the game was the only notable example of misbehaviour by Russian fans.

The incident could still be costly for the Russian federation. It had been warned that it will be kicked out of the competition if fans were to cause any more trouble after unrest at their team's match against England last Saturday in Marseille.

The match unfurled in the same peaceful atmosphere as in the quiet night and the final hours before kick-off, when dozens of Russian and Slovakian fans were peacefully walking the streets in the Villeneuve d'Ascq area, a 10-minute walk from the stadium.

Fans from both nations mingled just outside the stadium and were taking pictures together.

The potential for further unrest remains as large numbers of English and Welsh supporters are in Lille ahead of their teams' match.

By early afternoon there had only been seven arrests for public disorder. Among those arrested were Russians, Slovaks and a woman from Ukraine.

More than 2,000 security forces were present in the city.

Bilyal Kotkin, a Russian fan from Moscow, said Russian hooligans "need to be isolated. We need to close the borders on them because football does not go with force and violence."

Riot police commander Olivier Dimpre told reporters outside the Flanders station that they are looking for hooligan groups before they get into the town centre saying riot police were ready for any disorder.

"Everything that could be done has been done," Dimpre said.

English supporters sang unsavoury songs about Russia and songs about British pilots shooting down German planes in WWII. Police told fans who strayed too far from the bars with their beer to either tip it onto the street or return to the bars.

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