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Violence at PSG celebrations in Paris turn into political football

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Violence at PSG celebrations in Paris turn into political football


Parisians are assessing the damage after a night of football celebrations descended into chaos and violence.

Up to 15,000 fans had gathered near the Eiffel Tower to celebrate football team Paris Saint-Germain’s first league win in 19 years, but some supporters were more interested in vandalising shops, restaurants and cars close to the Champs Elysees.

One Paris resident recalled what she saw: “The police was standing on the other side of the road behind their shields. The fans had time to smash all they wanted. No one came to stop them. No one!”

Some 800 police officers spent hours trying to control hardcore fans known as “ultras”.

Thirty-three people were wounded and 21 arrested.

The city’s police chief Bernard Boucault has vowed celebrations will not be allowed next time.

Monday night’s events have allowed political point-scoring. French oppposition UMP leader Jean-François Copé said: “What happened yesterday is very serious, because, bearing in mind the principles of state authority, it unfortunately showed the failings of the Interior Ministry and the police chief to ensure security for people and property.”

After describing football as “sick” and reminding fans that this kind of behaviour would not be tolerated, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls went on to say: “I hear from some in the opposition and far-right the police didn’t do their job. A few weeks ago, these same deputies blamed the police for an over-zealous response during protests against the same-sex marriage bill. It’s therefore the police that are being accused, not the Interior Minister, and this is unacceptable.”

PSG players, including English mid-fielder David Beckham, were only able to stay in Trocadero plaza for two minutes before having to leave. A cruise along the River Seine was cancelled.

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