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Euro 2016: Dozens of England Fans Arrested in Lille, France

by /  / Updated  / Source: Reuters
England supporters gesture towards a line of police officers during a standoff in Lille, France, on Wednesday.Darko Vojinovic / AP

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LILLE, France — French police used tear gas to disperse rampaging English soccer fans after clashes on Wednesday.

It was the fourth time England supporters have been involved in violent incidents since the start of the European Championship tournament.

 England supporters gesture towards a line of police officers during a standoff in Lille, France, on Wednesday. Darko Vojinovic / AP

Authorities had flooded the city's streets with police earlier in the day and imposed strict alcohol bans to try to avoid a repeat of the violence that marred the England-Russia match in Marseille on Saturday.

Police made 36 arrests Wednesday in Lille on a turbulent day interspersed with bursts of crowd trouble and a few fights. Authorities said 16 people were hospitalized, but gave no details about injuries.

Despite scattered incidents, the violence in the northern city of Lille did not reach the levels of last weekend in Marseille, where English fans were involved in three days of occasionally vicious fighting.

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However, riot police were still firing tear gas to disperse English supporters, many of them apparently drunk, late into the evening.

Police had to protect several thousand French soccer fans who had watched their team in an official fan zone set up for soccer lovers in each host city.

Riot police formed a shield to keep rampaging England fans away, eventually charging the English, spraying tear gas at them and forcing them to flee.

 Police disperse soccer fans in Lille, France, on Wednesday. THIBAULT VANDERMERSCH / EPA

After a match between Russia and Slovakia ended in Lille earlier in the day, police chased large groups of English fans through the back streets around the city's main railway station.

A group of several hundred English fans drinking in local bars had been getting progressively rowdier and noisier, singing songs taunting Russia, when a loud explosion was heard and some bottles were thrown.

England plays Wales in the nearby city of Lens on Thursday.

In Lille, police pinned 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. Later in the evening, police used gas again on groups of England supporters running through the city center.

 England fans gather in Lille, France, on Wednesday. THIBAULT VANDERMERSCH / EPA

Just after midnight English fans suddenly began chasing away locals celebrating France's victory over Albania.

French authorities in Lille said police made 16 arrests, including six Russians involved in violence last Saturday in Marseille.

 Police officers look on during a pause in clashes with England soccer fans early on Thursday in Lille, France. Carl Court / Getty Images

Another five people were arrested for public drunkenness on a train from London that was stopped before it got to Lille and then allowed to continue.

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.

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