- Lille “calmer than expected”
- Several arrests for public disorder
- Security to be maintained ahead of England match in Lens
Police say Lille is calmer than expected as it hosts the Euro 2016 match between Russia and Slovakia.
Eyewitnesses have described a “festive atmosphere” in the northern French city.
lmoniez) <a href="https://twitter.com/lmoniez/status/743084851386028032">June 15, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Very festive atmosphere at stadium near <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/lille?src=hash">#lille</a> ahead of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RUSSLO?src=hash">#RUSSLO</a>. No clashes, just a lot of beer (in plastic cups)! <a href="https://t.co/vNamFLbECe">pic.twitter.com/vNamFLbECe</a></p>— Kethevane Gorjestani (ketgorjestani) June 15, 2016
Concerns over possible violence have been running high, with thousands of fans arriving for the match.
An England game is due to take place on Thursday in nearby Lens.
There have been fears of a repeat of the clashes between Russia and England fans seen in Marseille last week.
Have there been any arrests?
The authorities say there have been seven arrests for public disorder.
French police say those arrested include Russians, Slovakians and a woman from Ukraine.
Four will be deported in the coming days.
Despite the good-natured atmosphere, there is a heavy police presence on the streets.
What about England?
The security services will remain on high alert overnight as Russian and English fans are expected to cross paths in the northern French city.
The English are passing through Lille ahead of their own Euro 2016 game with Wales, scheduled for Thursday in nearby Lens.
stefandevries) <a href="https://twitter.com/stefandevries/status/743072261297561600">June 15, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Just arrived at Lille. Come on England 👍 <a href="https://t.co/kjo2nskCfW">pic.twitter.com/kjo2nskCfW</a></p>— Ray Parlour (RealRomfordPele) June 15, 2016
A ban on alcohol has also been imposed in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the violence that has marred the start of the tournament.
What they are saying
“Looking back over the past 48 hours, the tidal wave we were expecting has not really materialised,” -*Michel Lalande*, Prefet of the Nord departement (region).
“Around 350 bars in Lille were supposed to be closed today, Wednesday. But some stay open and are still serving the drinks, which they say are low alcohol. The beer is served in plastic glasses rather than bottles which could be used as missiles,” – Euronews correspondent Andrei Beketov.
“Those who want to fight will fight. Those who don’t want to fight like girls, won’t. They will be here, smiling and singing,” – football fan.
“We want a good and friendly atmosphere. Yesterday, for example, we spent the day with Germans and British fans, just singing,” – football fan.