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French police charge at England crowd as violence blights Lille

By Tom White and Alex Britton

Police charged at England fans in Lille after flares and bangers were lit in the French city.

Ahead of a baton charge, supporters were heard to chant and red flares were let off amid a stand-off with officers.

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

Earlier, police used tear gas on crowds following scuffles in the city centre.

A large group of fans were congregated at the Place des Reignaux when officers used the spray and let off a canister. A loud bang was also heard.

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

Hordes of fans were seen walking through the streets chanting "England, England, England".

In footage posted online by ex-England footballer Stan Collymore, one man wearing a green hat is seen smashing several 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."

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

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

Mounted police quickly arrived on the scene as the England fans regrouped and began to chant again.

Away from the main square, a group of England fans who were comparatively quiet were surrounded by police as they drank outside Cafe Oz.

Either standing outside or sitting on the grass, the officers parked more than 10 vans and a bus in the square around them. As quickly as the trouble started, it went away and the fans returned to chanting and singing.

Later, as tensions continued to rise, a stand-off developed with the fans and a line of police, with a bottle being thrown.

But police officers from England and Wales moved into the group and were able to ease the crowd back 50 yards.

Shortly after, 10pm police charged at England fans as flares and bangers were lit in the French city.

Belfast Telegraph


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