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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

UK involved at ‘aggressive’ French police motion in direction of Liverpool followers

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UK ministers have expressed concern on the “aggressive approach” taken by police in direction of British soccer followers who attended the Champions League ultimate in Paris, after the French authorities and organiser Uefa accused them of misbehaving.

Saturday’s recreation between Liverpool and Real Madrid, held on the Stade de France, was delayed by 35 minutes as French authorities struggled to handle the group exterior the stadium. Eyewitnesses described lengthy queues of individuals ready to get into the stadium and the usage of tear fuel and pepper spray by police.

Brandon Lewis, Northern Ireland secretary, described the scenes earlier than the match, which Real Madrid gained, as “concerning” and known as for an in depth investigation.

“We’ve got to learn a little bit about what happened over there, get to the bottom of it,” he advised Sky News on Sunday. “But it is concerning to see that people either didn’t get into the stadium or were treated in the way that some of them seem to have been treated, with a very aggressive approach.”

Uefa, European soccer’s governing physique, has mentioned that it’s going to “review” the state of affairs “urgently” with the French authorities. “In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets, which did not work in the turnstiles,” it mentioned in a press release.

“This created a build-up of fans trying to get in. As a result, the kick-off was delayed by 35 minutes to allow as many fans as possible with genuine tickets to gain access. As numbers outside the stadium continued to build up after kick-off, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them away from the stadium.”

Gérald Darmanin, France’s inside minister, blamed “thousands” of British followers who allegedly tried to interrupt into the stadium with out tickets or with falsified tickets. He thanked French police for his or her work; the inside ministry mentioned 105 folks had been arrested on the evening.

However, Chris Green, the assistant chief constable of Merseyside Police — whose pressure was deployed in Paris in an “observatory and advisory capacity” — mentioned on Twitter that the “vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner” and folks had witnessed “distressing scenes”.

In a press release issued on Saturday night, Liverpool mentioned it was “hugely disappointed at the stadium entry issues and breakdown of the security perimeter that Liverpool fans faced . . . supporters should not have to experience the scenes we have witnessed tonight”. The membership known as for an official investigation.

Writing on Twitter on Sunday, sports activities minister Nigel Huddleston mentioned the UK could be “working with the appropriate authorities to find out what happened and why”.

Menna Rawling, the UK’s ambassador to France, urged followers in want of consular help to contact the British embassy. “We need to establish the facts,” she added, saying she was “disturbed by events before the game” and welcomed Uefa’s pledge to research.

The French authorities and police additionally confronted criticism from each ends of the home political spectrum.

Far-right chief Marine Le Pen known as it a “humiliation” for France because the nation prepares to host the 2024 summer time Olympics. She accused the inside ministry of mendacity about who was answerable for the difficulty, and blamed “traditional thugs from the suburbs” reasonably than British followers.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, chief of a leftwing alliance in France’s upcoming parliamentary elections, mentioned the occasions confirmed a “total failure” by the French police, whom he blamed for having aggravated the state of affairs.

Source: www.ft.com

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