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French police fight Everton fans

23 October 2014, 20:26

Lille - French police fired tear gas at Everton fans Thursday amid rising tensions ahead of the English side's Europa League game against Lille, officials said.

Police also fired tear gas on Wednesday night to clear the English supporters after masked French fans attacked a group from Everton in a city bar.

At least one English fan was injured, the prefecture in Lille said. Everton said in a statement on its website that it had heard of two fans with slight injuries. Everton also advised fans to stay away from Lille's main square where the latest troubles erupted.

Hundreds of English fans gathered in bars and cafes in the centre of the northern French city where many stores closed fearing trouble.

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French officials said the trouble started when a British police officer spotted one Everton fan who is a known hooligan and another man with a record for dealing drugs.

French police wanted to arrest the two but were threatened by English supporters and took refuge in a book store. Riot police then fired tear gas and some English fans hurled beer cans and other projectiles.

The atmosphere calmed when police withdrew.

Everton fans complained about police action on Wednesday night when more than 40 masked Lille fans attacked a bar where Everton supporters had gathered.

The French supporters fled and the riot squad used tear gas to disperse about 100 English fans who also rushed to the scene, prefecture officials said.

More than 800 police are on duty for the match in Group H of the Europa League.



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