Russian fans clash with Polish policeJune 13th, 2012 - 12:42 am ICT by IANS
Warsaw, June 12 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Polish riot police on Tuesday fired warning shots into the air after two people were injured in violence at a march of Russian fans in the Polish capital.
The Russian supporters were walking en masse, 5,500 strong, to the National Stadium from the city centre ahead of Tuesday night’s Euro 2012 clash against Poland.
Russian supporters were also celebrating Russia Day, a holiday commemorating the end of the Soviet Union. Russia Day marks the 1990 signing of the Declaration of State Sovereignty, which proclaimed Russia’s sovereignty as the Soviet Union collapsed.
Violence started when groups of Polish fans attacked the Russian column, and a Russian and a Pole were injured and carried off for treatment by police.
The two countries have frayed political ties and both have problems with football hooliganism.
Several Polish fans were arrested after scuffles with police as the parade crossed a bridge in the centre of the city, while another Pole was arrested after infiltrating the Russian parade and shouting inflammatory slogans.
Alexander Shprygin, head of the All-Russian Fans’ Union, said that Polish fans had thrown pyrotechnics at the Russians.
The Russian fans had not fought the Poles or the police, he said.
A police water cannon was in attendance, although it is not clear whether it was used.
The march had received support from the Warsaw mayora’s office, even though mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz earlier said it could give rise to “unhealthy sentiments”, and there are fears it could prompt violence between supporters of two countries.
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Tags: euro 2012, football hooliganism, mayor hanna, mayora, polish capital, polish fans, polish police, political ties, ria novosti, riot police, russian fans, signing of the declaration, slogans, soviet union, state sovereignty, vd, waltz, warning shots, warsaw, water cannon