Euro 2012: Football fans in Warsaw clash

The BBC's Alex Capstick reported from the march as scuffles broke out around him

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Clashes between rival Russian and Polish football fans in the Polish capital Warsaw have marred a Euro 2012 tie between the two teams.

A march ahead of the match by thousands of Russian fans to mark their national day had to be halted and some missiles were thrown.

Police say they arrested at least 120 people and that 10 people were injured.

A heavy police presence was in evidence around the stadium after the match as further clashes broke out.

About 6,000 police were on duty to keep the rival fans apart.

The match ended shortly after 22:30 local time (20:30 GMT) in a 1-1 draw.

Beforehand, some Polish fans on a bridge on the march route had tried to attack the Russian fans and had been involved in scuffles, says the BBC's Alex Capstick in Warsaw.

Tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon were used to disperse fans at the end of the march, according to Poland's state news agency.

In a separate incident, 50 Polish fans in masks attacked Russian fans in a Warsaw cafe, the Russian news agency Interfax reported.

During the match, trouble broke out in an area of the city centre where the match was being displayed on big screens, the Associated Press reports.

Polish police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at a group of young fans who attacked them with glass bottles, according to AP.

Controversial history

More than just sporting rivals

  • 1611-1612 - Polish army reaches Kremlin, occupying heart of Russian state
  • Late 1770s - Poland is partitioned, Russia begins over 130 years of rule
  • 19th Century - Russia crushes Polish uprisings
  • Conflict with Russia continues after 1917 Bolshevik Revolution
  • 1939 - USSR and Nazi Germany secretly agree on new partition of Poland
  • 1940 - Soviet police kill some 22,000 Polish officers and other elite prisoners at Katyn
  • USSR turns Poland into a communist satellite state after World War II
  • 1980s - Solidarity union in Poland plays a key role in defeating communism
  • 2010 - Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others die in Polish plane crash near Katyn, in Russia; Moscow's sympathy leads to warmer relations

(Source: BBCRussian.com)

Russia annexed most of Poland in the 19th Century and ruled it for more than 100 years. The Soviet Union dominated it during the Cold War, after World War II.

The conservative Polish opposition condemned the march as a provocation, but it was approved by the authorities.

The Russian national holiday marks Russia's declaration of sovereignty in 1990 - a key episode in the demise of the Soviet Union.

Polish media highlighted fears that some Russian fans may sport Soviet flags and symbols - a highly sensitive issue for the many Poles who deplored communist rule.

"March or street war?" said a headline in the conservative Polish daily Rzeczpospolita. It quoted Wojciech Wisniewski, a member of the Polish Union of Football Fans, as saying "somebody really wants to make Polish football fans attack the Russians".

European football's governing body Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings against Russia after a series of incidents involving the country's fans at Euro 2012.

Russian fans were caught on camera kicking and punching stewards inside the stadium at Wroclaw, in western Poland, after their team beat the Czech Republic 4-1 on Friday. Four stewards needed hospital treatment.

Anti-racist monitors at the match said a section of the crowd racially abused the Czech Republic's only black player, Theodor Gebre Selassie.

In a statement on Monday, Russian football association said: "We urge all football fans now in Poland to remember that they represent Russia. Please respect yourselves, your country and your team."

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