German police intervene to stem clashes between England and Serbia fans before Euro 2024 match

Riot police in Germany have intervened to stop brawling soccer fans before the European Championship soccer match between Serbia and England

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GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Riot police in Germany intervened to stop brawling soccer fans before Sunday's match between Serbia and England at the European Championship soccer tournament.

Social media footage showed men throwing chairs at each other outside a restaurant festooned with Serbian flags in the western city of Gelsenkirchen. One group quickly left as riot officers arrived and wrestled at least one man to the ground.

A Serbian fan told The Associated Press that a group of England fans had thrown glasses and stones at the area outside the restaurant where he and others were sitting together drinking beer.

“There was a clash and we are fine. So that’s it, we are going to the game, we hope we will win. This is about football,” said the man, who identified himself only as Vladimir and said he was from the Serbian capital Belgrade.

Reporters who arrived shortly after the fighting found the street littered with broken glass and tables as several dozen police officers stood by.

Gelsenkirchen police said in a statement that officers intervened to stop a confrontation between Serbian and English fans.

“Riot police were deployed and separated the two fan camps. They took seven Serbian supporters into custody and filed a criminal complaint for grievous bodily harm,” the statement said.

There was no immediate information about injuries.

The Euro 2024 match between England and Serbia was classified as high risk by police over concerns about potential fan violence. Both sets of supporters have a reputation for causing trouble before and during matches.

About 20,000 England fans and 10,000 from Serbia were expected to converge on the city for the game. Only low-alcohol beer is being served in the Gelsenkirchen stadium in an attempt to reduce the potential for problems.

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Stephen Graham contributed to this report from Berlin.

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024.

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