Police use tear gas on Poland-Russia football clashes

Police used an arsenal of tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets and pepper spray and detained dozens of brawling football fans ahead of a key Euro 2012 match between Poland and Russia on Tuesday.

Police said they had detained nearly 130 unruly fans on both sides while about 10 were treated for minor injuries before the match, which the authorities said posed the city's "greatest ever" security challenge.

Tension was stoked by centuries of bad blood and suspicion between the two countries, coupled with pockets of fans on both sides with a reputation for violence.

But the 1-1 result appeared to have eased the post-match mood, with no major incidents reported after midnight (2200 GMT), as Poles celebrated their chance to advance in the 16-nation quadrennial tournament they are co-hosting with Ukraine.

Earlier, police sprayed water cannon at Polish fans near the stadium before the kick-off while tear gas was used in another area near the venue, which was encircled by a thick cordon of riot police with dogs and rubber-bullet guns.

Riot police and vans created a buffer as Russian fans began marching to the National Stadium across a central Warsaw bridge chanting "Russia, Russia" and waving white, blue and red national flags on what was also their national day.

Rubber bullets and pepper spray were also part of the anti-brawl arsenal authorities used to douse brawls, local media reported.

Some Polish fans yelled obscenities at the Russian marchers, who responded by hurling back bottles, but security forces swiftly managed to keep the situation in check.

Helicopters circled the city sky, as "vuvuzela" trumpets blared below and thousands of chanting Poland fans decked out in their national red and white also made their way in a loud but orderly fashion to the stadium.

Some 6,000 police are on duty in the capital for the duration of the tournament and Poland's Euro 2012 organisers have said that 9,800 Russian and 29,300 Polish fans had tickets for Tuesday's encounter.

Some 12,000 Russian fans were in the city for match day.

Before kick-off, Russia's national anthem was met with jeers and whistles as the country's supporters unfurled a giant flag emblazoned with a sword-wielding warrior and the words "This is Russia" from their enclosure in the stands.

Poland's Interior Minister Jacek Cichocki had earlier said the security operation surrounding the match in the capital was the city's "greatest-ever challenge", as Polish newspapers played up the match with military language and historical references.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk warned that drunken fans after the game were "a real concern".

Tusk also hit back at claims of racism levelled at Poland, with a number of reported incidents, most notably taunts at members of the Dutch national team as they trained in Krakow.

European football's governing body UEFA is also looking into allegations that Russian fans taunted Ethiopian-Czech player Theodor Gebre Selassie.

"Let's be honest, racist and anti-Semitic attitudes among Polish hooligans are a fact. But I strongly protest against stigmatising Poland as a country in which this phenomenon is growing," he said.

Before the match some Russian fans insisted the security issue was overblown.

"We won't be provoking anything," said Svetoslaw Sorokine, 33, who travelled 48 hours by train from Yoshkar-Ola, a city 800 kilometres (500 miles) east of Moscow, for the match.

"Our supporters come in a spirit of peace to support our team, not to play politics," he added.

Fellow fan Ilya Koulikov, a Moscow native, said fears of clashes among fans were being "fuelled by the media who are stoking the fire. People have come for the football."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino
    Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino

    Philippine military and commercial aircraft will keep flying over disputed areas in the South China Sea despite Chinese warnings over the airspace, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday. "We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into," Aquino told reporters when asked whether the Philippines accepted China's position. The Chinese military last week ordered a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane away from airspace …

  • ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’
    ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’

    The daughter of one of the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. owners has assured the government that the businessmen are still in the Philippines, contrary to some reports that they have fled the country. Barbara Ang, daughter of Kentex shareholder Veato Ang, said her father and his business partners have no plans of leaving the country despite the razing of the Valenzuela slipper factory, which killed 72 workers on May 13. Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian also stood by his promise to punish any local …

  • Gasoline prices up, diesel down
    Gasoline prices up, diesel down

    Oil companies announced yesterday a price hike of 50 centavos per liter for gasoline and a rollback of 50 centavos per liter for diesel effective at 6 a.m. today. Independent oil firms were among the first to announce the price adjustment. In an advisory, PTT Philippines, the local subsidiary of Thailand’s biggest oil firm said it cut diesel prices by 50 centavos per liter and increased gasoline prices by 50 centavos per liter. …

  • Lawmakers to review building code provisions
    Lawmakers to review building code provisions

    Lawmakers are set to review provisions of the National Building Code and Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, to strengthen contingencies and policies to prepare the country for possible major earthquakes. The move came following proposals from Reps. Winston Castelo of Quezon City and Lito Atienza of the Buhay party-list to review the two laws and other regulations during a hearing of the House committee on Metro Manila development on the …

  • Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms
    Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms

    The Philippines’ attaining first world status may soon be imminent if significant reforms initiated by the current administration would be consistently pursued, President Aquino suggested yesterday. “Kung madidiligan ang ating mga pinunla, at makaka-graduate ang mga pinag-aaral natin upang makapasok sa maaayos na trabaho, baka po tuluyan nang nasa first world status tayo sa panahong iyon (If we water the seeds sown and those we sent to school will find better jobs, then time will come that …

  • Phl won’t recognize China air restrictions
    Phl won’t recognize China air restrictions

    The Philippines will not recognize restrictions on air and sea travel set by China in the West Philippine Sea, President Aquino said yesterday. “We will still fly the routes that we fly based on international law and the various conventions, agreements that have been entered into through various decades,” Aquino told reporters in an ambush interview after inspecting the Marikina Elementary School in preparation for the opening of classes in June. “Maybe we should not think about getting …

  • Rainy season likely in 2nd week of June
    Rainy season likely in 2nd week of June

    Filipinos may have to wait until the second or third week of June for rain, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday. Rene Paciente, chief of PAGASA’s marine meteorological services section, said they expect the rainy season to start in the second or third week of June. The criteria for declaring the onset of the rainy season include the prevalence of the southwest monsoon and the 25-millimeter rainfall recorded in at least five …

  • UN urged to probe torture cases under Noy’s term
    UN urged to probe torture cases under Noy’s term

    The United Nations has been asked to look into   110 cases of torture and numerous cases of illegal arrests during the Aquino administration. Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary-general, yesterday said the matter could be looked into when the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) visits from May 25 to June 3 to monitor the  implementation of the Optional protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OpCAT), which the Philippines ratified in 2012. “We enjoin the UN SPT to …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options