Riot police had to break up a huge clash between England and Russia fans only hours before the countries met at Euro 2016.

The violence left a 51-year-old England supporter fighting for his life. Pictures show him on the “ground with blood pouring from a head wound while a French police officer tried to revive him.”

The attacks occurred in France’s port city of Marseille at 3PM local time. It took the police four years to disperse the crowd.

From The Telegraph:

“It was the Russians that sparked it all off,” an England supporter insisted, “A whole gang of the [Russians] came right into the middle of everything and started throwing punches.”

Another said: “There’s this group of Russians who are proper mental. They threw everything at us – chairs, bottles – and they slashed us with knives. The French are also having a go.”

A third travelling fan said: “There’s literally an army of Russian fans marching over the hill towards the English supporters. It’s absolutely crazy.” Photographs seemed to back up at least some of those claims.

British journalists said everyone enjoyed a fun atmosphere until “a gang of black-clad Russians” leaked into the square “from a side street apparently seeking violence.”

French authorities arrested six individuals.

England fans threw bottles and chairs at the French riot police, who then fired tear gas into the crowd. The fight left the picturesque streets littered in broken glass and stained in blood.

From the BBC:

European football’s governing body Uefa said it “firmly condemns the incidents in Marseille”, adding that “people engaging in such violent acts have no place in football”.

Earlier on Saturday, shadow home secretary Andy Burnham had said England fans’ behaviour was “embarrassing”, given the terrorism threat to France.

BBC News correspondent Nick Eardley, who is in Marseille, described the situation earlier as “pretty terrifying” as fans fought with Russia supporters.

People posted pictures and video from the riot. Some contain disturbing content.

The drama continued inside Stade Velodrome. Right after the teams finished with a 1-1 tie, the “Russian fans ripped down English flags” and attacked England supporters.

UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, condemned the fights and said that “such violent acts have no place in football.”


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