The day France has been preparing for since May 2010 has finally arrived.
Euro 2016 kicks off in Paris tonight (June 10) with France VS Romania the match opening a month of football fever.
France has extended its state of emergency – in place since November’s deadly Paris attacks – to cover the duration of the Euros. Thousands of extra police officers are patrolling the streets and stadia and a free concert held in the capital on Thursday night (June 9) passed without notable incident.
Nonetheless, fears remain about the safety of the competition. In the past weeks, France has faced crippling strikes, floods and, most recently, the threat of violent football fans.
BREAKING: According to reports, England fans have clashed with French fans in Marseille, causing Police dogs, tear gas and havoc.— From The Stands (@FromTStands) June 9, 2016
Injuries were reported after several dozen England supporters clashed with local youths in Marseille ahead of their tie against Russia on Saturday.
England fans in Marseille chanting: "Isis,where are you?" pic.twitter.com/8y7ng6JcbP— When Sunday Comes (@WSCsm) June 9, 2016
Allegedly shouting “ISIS, where are you?” the English fans could be seen exchanging punches with the city’s residents, eyewitnesses say, prompting authorities to use tear gas to break up the brawl.
Well that didn't take long. England making friends in Marseille once more. https://t.co/wEFn7U5BaY— Tommy - NYCF (@NYCFirm) June 10, 2016
Déjà-vu, perhaps, for the city’s residents, as Marseille was also the scene of significant violence between the two groups during the 1998 World Cup in France.
(“Scenes of riots all over Marseille, the police are powerless!”)
French police are said to have struggled to control the conflict, which started at around midnight local time, near the Old Port, and lasted around half an hour.
(Speech at the end: “It’s a scene of desolation in Marseille.”)
(Speech at the end: “The first of those injured… Basically throughout Marseille there are police and sirens everywhere. The firefighters are overwhelmed by events. It’s not even the first day of the Euros. It’s a catastrophe.”)
(“The English are uncontrollable. Gratuitous violence on the streets of Marseille.”)
(“Several injured after an explosion of violence in the town centre.”)