France makes 323 arrests since start of Euro 2016 championship

Philippe Huguen, AFP | Police survey football fans who have climbed on top of road signs in Lille on June 15 during the Euro 2016 football championship.

French police have made 323 arrests since the start of the European Championships, the interior ministry said on Thursday, as Europe's showcase football event continues to be marred by violence.


"Of these arrests, 196 were taken into custody, eight convicted to jail terms and three given suspended sentences," the interior ministry said in a statement, without offering further details.

Later on Thursday, a French court jailed three Russian football fans for up to two years for their role in violence in Marseille before the England-Russia match on June 12.

The three men were among a group of 43 Russian supporters detained by French police in southern France on Tuesday after the violence, which left more than 30 people injured.

On Wednesday, another 36 people were arrested for various offences as Russia lost to Slovakia in Lille and England defeated Wales in the same Euro 2016 group in nearby Lens, police said.

Few Russians were out on the streets of Lille after their team’s 2-1 defeat in an afternoon fixture and the main trouble that evening was caused by English fans chanting outside bars in groups of up to 200.

The violence in Marseille before and after England’s 1-1 draw with Russia, including a charge in the stadium by Russian fans after the final whistle, has seen the hosts of the 2018 World Cup warned by organisers UEFA that the Russian team will be disqualified if there is a repeat of such disorder.

On Wednesday Russia summoned France's ambassador to protest against the arrest of Russian football fans following Saturday's game.

UEFA also warned England that a repetition of fans’ violent behaviour could see the team expelled. There was no immediate reaction from UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, to the events in Lille, where police said they had “saturated” the city with nearly 4,000 officers and limited alcohol sales.

England fans had complained that the police response had been heavy-handed. “Shame!" some shouted at the heavily armed forces.

However, the authorities had clearly decided to hold back from making mass arrests among noisy and disruptive groups.


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