Violent Russia, England Soccer Fans Denounced on Twitter
Hundreds of thousands of tweets flooded Twitter Saturday, criticizing fans of the Russian and English soccer teams who got embroiled in violent fights and riots before and after the European Championship game.
Fans rioted before the game at Marseille’s Old Port district and again briefly outside the nearby Stade Velodrome on the third straight day of violence in the city. Police fired tear gas and water cannons at brawling fans.
The clashes continued moments after the final whistle, when a large group of Russian fans in one of the stands behind the goal advanced on England supporters in the neighboring area, throwing objects and breaking through a line of stewards. England fans fled for the exits in panic.
The Russian fans were kept behind until most England fans left the stadium.
People took to Twitter to condemn the violence under the hashtag #ENGRUS, which garnered almost 300,000 posts.
“Why can’t people just enjoy a game of football without fighting? Totally disgusting,” one post read.
Why can’t people just enjoy a game of football without fighting? Totally disgusting #ENGRUS
— Jodie (@PheJodie) June 11, 2016
“It’s a shame that violence has to overshadow the performance of the players, absolute idiots fighting amongst themselves,” user Nicole Mellor Tweeted.
It’s a shame that violence has to overshadow the performance of the players, absolute idiots fighting amongst themselves #ENGRUS
— Nicole Mellor (@NicoleMellor2) June 11, 2016
Others criticized the aggressors for adding complications for the French organizers, who already face high security demands sparked by terrorist attacks hitting the country in recent years.
“Disgusted with the fighting between fans in France. With what France has had to deal with recently, they really don’t need this!” user Jerry Tremellen Tweeted.
Disgusted with the fighting between fans in France. With what France has had to deal with recently, they really don’t need this!#ENGRUS
— Jerry Tremellen (@jerry_tremellen) June 11, 2016
Still others pointed to apparent holes in the tightened security, as some of the attendees were apparently able to smuggle in fireworks.
Some also disagreed with calling the people involved in the violence “fans,” as it may tarnish the reputation of fans who express their sports enthusiasm peacefully.
Anyone involved in the violence isn’t a football fan. Let’s stop referring to them as ‘fans’. Thugs. Idiots #ENGRUS
— Phil Emonson (@Phil_Emonson) June 11, 2016
Police tried, largely unsuccessfully, to rein in the violence that they said left at least five people injured. Some fans walked through the city bare-chested and with blood dripping from head wounds.
An Associated Press reporter said it was calm outside the stadium afterward, with Russia and England fans drifting away peacefully.
Some commenters defended the England fans, saying they were the victims in the stadium fights. Yet others pointed out that may have been the case for that particular incident, but not the for the rest of the day.
“England fans appeared innocent in that instance but to suggest that some have not behaved shamefully in the Vieux Port would be disingenuous,” tweeted The Daily Mail Chief Sports Writer Oliver Holt, using another name for the Old Port of Marseilles.
England fans appeared innocent in that instance but to suggest that some have not behaved shamefully in the Vieux Port would be disingenuous
— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) June 11, 2016
UEFA will open disciplinary proceedings over the violence in Marseille. Russia may face stronger sanctions from European soccer’s governing body, as it may be held responsible for the incidents inside the stadium.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.