Violence hits German match

Police in the German city of Dortmund say more than 300 people have been arrested in the worst incidence of football hooliganism so far in the 2006 World Cup.

    Police say both German and Polish hooligans were arrested

    Most of the trouble was caused by German hooligans who threw bottles and chairs as they fought with police before and after Germany’s 1-0 victory over the Polish team on Wednesday.

     

    Several Polish hooligans were also involved in the violence, with around 60 Poles arrested during the day, officials said.

     

    Some of the Poles were carrying potentially dangerous items, police said, while others were on a list of known Polish hooligans.

     

    The trouble began when police spotted about 40 men, later described as hardcore hooligans, and blocked the route between the outdoor area where they had been drinking and a nearby big screen where games are shown for free.

     

    As police began apprehending the men, witnesses said they shouted, "We are Germans, too. We want to go to the big screen."

     

    Risk

     

    Clashes began in the afternoon
    in central Dortmund

    Some then began throwing bottles and chairs and shooting fireworks before backup police arrived, as did more hooligans.

     

    Police forces across Europe have been working together ahead of the World Cup in an effort to prevent known troubemakers from travelling to Germany.

     

    However, dealing with Germany's own home-grown hooligans has proved more of a challenge.

     

    The Germany v Poland match had been identified by security officials as a particular risk because of clashes last year between hooligans from the neighbouring countries.

     

    A recent spate of hooliganism in Poland had heightened fears of violence at the tournament.

     

    Under German law, suspects can be detained for up to 48 hours if police think they may commit a crime.

     

    Meanwhile England's once notorious fans have been praised by police for their behaviour so far in the tournament.

     

    Nonetheless, thousands of officers have been deployed on the streets of Nuremberg for England's match against Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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