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Polish jails ready for Euro fans

Poland is putting hundreds of judges on stand-by and moving some 600 inmates out of prisons in cities hosting European championship games next month to prepare for law-breaking football fans.

No major disturbances are expected during Euro 2012, which Poland is co-hosting with neighbouring Ukraine, said Justice Ministry spokeswoman Patrycja Loose.

"We hope there will be no disturbances of peace and order during Euro, but we would not like to be taken by surprise by any situation. We want to be ready," she said.

Up to 600 inmates are being moved from the four Euro host cities' prisons, said officials.

Ms Loose said that some 350 judges are being put on stand-by on match days in the four host cities: Warsaw, Wroclaw, Gdansk and Poznan, and that even more could be brought in from nearby cities if necessary.

Warsaw, with a central fan zone for 110,000 people, will have 170 judges ready to take on cases. Gdansk will have 78 judges, Wroclaw 51 and Poznan 50, numbers based on fan zone size, the fenced off areas where people without tickets will be able to watch matches on large TV screens.

Lawyers and interpreters will be put on standby. Temporary courtrooms have been arranged at stadiums to allow summary trials in case of stadium violence during the June 8-July 1 games.

Warsaw might also see some trade union unrest during the tournament. A leading union, Solidarity, has warned it will use the media attention on Poland to amplify ongoing protests against a new law raising the retirement age. The law will gradually raise it to 67 for most Poles from the current 60 for women and 65 for men.

Another challenging situation may arise on June 10 when nationalist opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski leads a wreath laying ceremony in memory of his twin, President Lech Kaczynski, who died in 2010 plane crash in Russia.

The monthly ceremony will take place next to the prestigious Bristol hotel, where Russia's team will be staying. Kaczynski's followers allege that Russia played a role in the plane crash and reject reports citing pilot error and fog as main reasons. Euro 2012)


From Belfast Telegraph