Euro 2016: England fans ’embarrassing’ says Labour’s Andy Burnham

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Fans were seen throwing bottles at police

The behaviour of England fans in Marseille is “embarrassing”, shadow home secretary Andy Burnham has said.

Police in Marseille had to deploy tear gas for a second evening to disperse England fans gathered ahead of their team’s opening Euro 2016 fixture..

Mr Burnham said he was “prepared to believe there was provocation”, and agreed the vast majority of England fans had been let down by a minority.

Officers in riot gear clashed with fans who threw bottles at police.

In a series of tweets, Labour’s Mr Burnham said that when the terror threat in France was taken into account, it made the “behaviour of these England ‘fans’ even more embarrassing”.

‘Style of policing’

English fans are in Marseille ahead of England’s first game of the competition against Russia on Saturday at the city’s Stade Velodrome at 20:00 BST. The team’s next two matches – against Wales on Thursday and Slovakia on 20 June – will be played in Lens and St Etienne.

Dave Tomlinson, from the Football Supporters’ Federation, who is in Marseille for the match, told BBC News it had been “disappointing to see any problems”.

“We understand from the reports that it’s a very small minority England fans that have been involved,” he said.

“We also understand that unfortunately there has been quite a lot of provocation from the French and also the Russian elements that are in the area.”

He also said the style of policing was “a little bit different” from what England fans would be used to.

“… the first option at the moment seems to be that the French police are going to put tear gas in the areas where there is potentially going to be problems,” he added.

Media captionFootage captured on a mobile phone shows teargas and England fans chanting in Marseille.

BBC 5 live sports presenter George Riley said a group of England fans on Friday night appeared to be goading either the police or locals in the area.

Fresh clashes in Marseille began outside a pub in the same area that had been affected by trouble on Thursday and continued well into the night.

One England fan and one local man were arrested in the early hours of Friday after police had moved in with tear gas.

George Riley said the group he had seen gathering on Friday evening appeared “quite menacing”, which prompted the 5 live team to leave.

France won the opening match in the tournament beating Romania 2-1.

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A football fan is helped after sustaining a head wound

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Police also used dogs to try and control the crowd

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A stand-off developed in the Old Port district of Marseille

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Mr Burnham described the behaviour of fans as “embarrassing”, but he said he was prepared to accept there was “provocation”

BBC Newsnight producer Alex Campbell, who was also at the scene, tweeted: “Most England fans here are simply drunk and singing. But the glass bottles aimed at police are becoming more regular.”

He later added: “Police just took their moment to charge England fans, who have now been pushed back. Some into a side road.”

BBC Newsbeat presenter Ben Mundy said police had earlier told bars in the Old Port area to stop serving English fans beer because they were singing loudly.

This had antagonised the fans and made them more aggressive, he said.

Police injured

On Thursday four French policemen were injured as they moved in on England fans, the news website France Bleu reported. Many of the fans had been drunk, it said.

After the tear gas was released, the police restored calm to the area at about 02:30 local time.

There had been no damage to local property, they said.

Welsh fans are also in France as their first game of the competition takes place against Slovakia later at 17:00 BST at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux.

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