Russian football fans′ march halted in Warsaw | News | DW | 12.06.2012
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Russian football fans' march halted in Warsaw

Police halted a march of thousands of Russians in Warsaw to mark a national holiday and to lend support to their football team ahead of their Euro 2012 match with Poland.

The stoppage was in response to fighting among rival fans, which led to dozens of arrests.

Security had been beefed up in anticipation of the march, which was scheduled several days in advance. Riot police were on hand to escort the Russian fans and used tear gas, fire hoses, and rubber bullets to break up conflicts when tensions started to boil over.

A Russian soccer fan fights with a Polish supporter (R) in Warsaw, June 12, 2012.

The had incidents of violence

Even as the march began and Russians began heading toward the National Stadium for Tuesday evening's match, Poles along the parade route were shouting insults to the Russians.

The situation escalated when some rival fans began to provoke and throw objects at each other. That is when Polish police decided to end the march, with some people lying on the ground injured after the clashes.

Most of the 5,000-strong crowd of Russians marched peacefully. Around 20,000 Russian fans are expected in public viewing areas for the match in Warsaw this evening, which Polish Interior Minister Jacek Cichicki said posed a particular security challenge.

Tuesday's Russia Day celebrations - commemorated by the march - mark the day Russia broke away from the Soviet Union.

mz/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)