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More Than 20 Injured, 184 Arrested After Russian, Polish Fans Clash

Russian, Polish Football Fans Clash In Warsawi
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June 13, 2012
Russian and Polish football fans attacked each other on the streets of Warsaw on the sidelines of a Euro 2012 match, which ended in a 1-1 tie. More than 140 people were detained after the clashes and at least 15 were injured. (AP video)

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By RFE/RL
Polish authorities say police arrested at least 184 people, most of them Poles, during clashes in Warsaw between Polish and Russian fans before and after the June 12 match between the two nations at Euro 2012.

Officials said more than 20 people were injured in the violence, including police officers and citizens of Poland, Russia, the United States, Germany, and Pakistan.

In addition to nearly 160 Poles who were arrested, those detained included Russians, a Spaniard, a Hungarian, and an Algerian.

A Polish government spokesman said more arrests of suspects are expected as investigators analyze videos of the unrest.

Police used water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets to disperse clashes between the opposing fans before and after the Group A match, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Polish authorities had authorized a march by Russian fans to the stadium, which was to coincide with a Russian national holiday. 

City authorities had appealed for calm in Warsaw ahead of the game, and the head of the Russia fan association had said the march would not be political in content.

PHOTO GALLERY: Fans clash ahead of Poland-Russia match
  • A Polish soccer fan is moved by riot police protecting Russian fans marching to the National Stadium in Warsaw.
  • Polish protesters walk with a placard reading "Russians and Poles, remember who is the killer!" and depicting Soviet dictator Josef Stalin during a rally in Warsaw.
  • A Polish journalist (second from right) is beaten by soccer fans in Warsaw.
  • Polish riot police shoot rubber bullets during clashes with soccer fans before the match between Poland and Russia in Warsaw.
  • A Polish soccer fan shows a wound from a rubber bullet during clashes with police and Russian fans in Warsaw.
  • Riot police react after Polish and Russian football fans clash in Warsaw.
  • An injured Polish soccer fan lies on the ground after clashing with Russian supporters in Warsaw.
  • Polish riot police stand guard next to soccer fans that have been arrested following clashes before the match between Poland and Russia in Warsaw.
  • Polish and Russian soccer fans clash outside the National Stadium in Warsaw.
  • Polish soccer fans shout at Russian supporters as they walk protected by Polish riot police in Warsaw.
  • Russian soccer fans walk, protected by Polish riot police in Warsaw.
  • Graffiti seen in Warsaw before the Russia-Poland match
  • Russian soccer fans cheer outside the National Stadium in Warsaw.
  • A Russian football fan with "Russia" painted on his head outside the stadium in Warsaw
  • Russian fans hold up a giant banner before the match.
  • Russia's soccer fan cheers during the match against Poland in Warsaw.
  • Russia's Alan Dzagoev (right) reacts as referee Wolfgang Stark of Germany shows him the yellow card during the match against Poland in Warsaw.
  • Poland's Jakub Blaszczykowski (left) scores a goal during the match against Russia in Warsaw.
But in a country where resentment of Russia runs deep, things turned violently quickly.

Reports say the march under police escort had proceeded more or less peacefully until it reached a bridge across the Vistula River. There, fights between pockets of rival fans broke out. 

Television footage showed several groups of 10 to 15 men scuffling and police helicopters hovering overhead.

Polish riot police were seen dragging people off and firing smoke into the air, as Polish fans chanted, "Russia whore, Russia whore" and, "Hit the red trash with a hammer, with a sickle."

There were also reports of scuffles at a fan zone in Warsaw. 

Plus, during the match, Polish police clashed with mainly Polish supporters, who sparked the unrest by throwing objects at police, including rocks, flares, and bottles. 

Despite the crowd trouble, fans from both sides appeared satisfied after the match.

"The atmosphere before the match was not very good because of the clashes, but now all is fine. We are having a good time. The result was good. All we need is to go beyond the group," said one male Polish fan after the game.

And despite violence, many Russian fans complimented their Polish hosts.

"Everyone is very hospitable. The fans, they all supported their own team, but it was all friendly. We all supported our own and we parted in a friendly way," said a female Russian supporter.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, Interfax, ITAR-TASS, and Reuters
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
June 13, 2012 02:51
In Russian news I've read that 5000 Russian occupant-terrorists were escorted by 6000 Polish national-traitor from the Ministerstwo Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego. Despite that protection many Russian occupant-terrorists were injured.
In Response

by: Sergey
June 13, 2012 10:07
In this case, Anonymous, terrorists were those who attacked demonstrators. While we can say it was stupid and unethical of Russian fans to march to Stadium knowing historical background of Russian-Polish relations, the scum who call themselves "Patriots" and who attacked both Russian fans and Polish police are the real terrorists and should be treated as such. Overall, these "fans" be they Polish, Russian and so on who seek to pick a fight should be shot in the legs like mad dogs and should spend months in hospital beds and months if not years in jail so they would think twice before do something like that again.
In Response

by: Chechen
June 13, 2012 11:17
That's nothing the Communist Party of Poland is blocking any attempt to publish the real facts of Lech Kaczyński murder.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 14, 2012 06:13
Don't worry, Chechen, the nation of Beavus, Butthead and George W. Obama will make Putin pay for the heinous murder of Saint Lech: just give them a couple more centuries to win the war in Afghanistan and avert the implosion of their financial system :-)).

by: Anonymous
June 13, 2012 11:58
Here is a good idea. This fourth of July I'm going to bring several thousand Americans to Moscow. On our first day there we're going to randomy attack several Russian stewards. Then we'll march down to Red square at which point in time we'll unveil a banner that reads "this is America". After we get attacked by groups of Russian nationalists , we'll accuse the Russians of a provocation.
In Response

by: Sergey from: Chicago, USA
June 13, 2012 14:59
Anonymous, thugs are thugs and they should be dealt with harshly regardless of their ethnicity, nationality, etc. Why are you trying to excuse these behavior of Polish hoodlums ? I do not deny that there were Russian hoodlums too who did ugly and nasty things in Poland, like attacking stadium workers in Wroclav. These thugs deserve to be severely punished. Going with Soviet era symbols in a country who suffered so much under Soviet-Communist & Russian rule is also an exceptionally bad idea and lack of judgement. I wouldn't mind if Polish authorities explicitly prohibited this.

However, there should be no excuse for thuggery. Polish hoodlums who attacked Russian fans en route to stadium and also attacked Polish police with firebombs and rocks need to face full weight of justice. All hoodlums need to be put in their place to prevent them from harming others. That's it !

P.S. If Americans in Russia want to celebrate 4th of July in Russia and Russian authorities authorize that, there should not be any problem with that. If Russian nationalist hoodlums were attacking Americans celebrating peacefully 4th of July in Russia, these hoodlums also need to be dealt with like any other hoodlums. All hoodlums should know that if they try to do something bad, they quickly end up either behind bars (or in hospital beds) for a long long time.
In Response

by: Anonymous
June 13, 2012 16:44
I agree with your point Sergei. Thugs are thugs, but why didn't you comment on the incident at the stadium when it occured? Where was the Russian media?
In Response

by: Jack from: US
June 13, 2012 17:02
on the video I could see 5 fans punching each other and 500 reporters around them. It all looks like a propaganda setup. Some information on the internet suggest those 5 Polish fans which were attacking someone, supposely Russian fan, were paid by US embassy for the show. The show was supposed to demonstrate how Poles hate Russians and how Poles love US government which protects them against evil Russians
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 14, 2012 06:18
Well, Anonynous, yours is a good idea. And it sounds like you, guys, did not have enough in Vietnam and Afghanistan - you absolutely insits on having your US ...es kicked in Moscow as well. Ok, enhorabuena :-)))!

by: Hamik C Gregory from: Reno, NV USA
June 13, 2012 12:58
What happened between Russian and Polish football fans is absolutely disgraceful. Disgrace is the only English word that can truly describe it.

by: Jack from: US
June 13, 2012 14:32
RFE/RL government-sponsored propaganda just tries to blow these incidents totally out of proportion to make a point that Poles hate Russians. Fact of the matter is, Polish people admire Russian people for their resistance to Axis of Evil (US-Israel-Saudi Arabia-Pakistan) and its NATO minions. Poland nowadays is under control of crooks in Washington. Poor Poland is just not destined to be truly independent country like Russia. Whether is is Moscow or Washington or Berlin, someone will always be issuing orders to Warsaw.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
June 13, 2012 16:39
Sorrry, I meant to add that Tel Aviv is the one issuing orders to Warsaw these days.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 14, 2012 06:21
As a matter of fact, the Polish hooligans can do whatever they want: there is no way their team will make it into the quarter-finals - losers are losers :-)).

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