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Chaos in Champions League final shows France in a bad light, say opposition leaders | France

Chaos in Champions League final shows France in a bad light, say opposition leaders | France

French opposition politicians have criticized the government for maintaining order in Champions League final in Paris on Saturday night, saying the chaotic scenes showed a bad image of France.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the radical left, whose left-wing alliance is seeking seats in the upcoming legislative elections, said the “dismal” and “disturbing” scenes suggested that France and its security services were unprepared for sporting events such as rugby next year. World Cup or the Paris 2024 Olympics.

There were chaotic scenes before the delayed kick-off of the match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France as security checks led to traffic jams and police deployed pepper spray or tear gas.

Mélenchon said the police’s job was to “keep calm” and “prevent things from going wrong” but they did the opposite and “escalated” the situation. He said the police should have been better prepared, including for the arrival of large numbers of England fans. He said instead there had been “the usual doctrine” of what he called confrontational policing, which he said constantly caused clashes and unrest at protests in Paris.

The newspaper Le Parisien declared: “These few hours of chaos left the organizers with an aftertaste of a fiasco. They raise questions a year before the Rugby World Cup and two years before the Olympics.

French champion boxer Estelle Mossely, who was among the crowd stuck outside the stadium, tweeted that it was “scandalous” and that she had been “blocked for over an hour, gassed and pushed around”.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, French law enforcement authorities said 68 arrests had been made overnight around the stadium and 39 people had been detained by police. FranceTVInfo, the public broadcaster, reported that one of those arrested was selling counterfeit tickets and had 50 tickets on him. Le Monde reported that police authorities said 115 supporters were slightly injured and four people were evacuated for medical treatment.

In a tweet Sent just before midnight, Gérald Darmanin, the Home Secretary, appeared to blame Liverpool supporters for the problems.

“Thousands of British ‘supporters’, without tickets, or with fake tickets, forced entry, and at times were violent towards stadium staff,” he said. He thanked the police for their work “in this difficult context”.

A police statement published in the early hours of Sunday morning said that before the match “many” fans without tickets, or with fake tickets, were “disrupting access to the stadium”. Police said some people took the opportunity to scale the fence protecting the entrance to the stadium.

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“The rapid intervention of law enforcement allowed a return to calm and the evacuation of troublemakers away from the entrance,” the statement said. She concluded that after the game the fans dispersed without difficulty and there were “no major incidents” in either fanzone elsewhere in the French capital.

A separate statement from the Paris police said the fanzones had been evacuated and closed “calmly” without “any incident”.

French journalist Remy Buisine posted a video on Twitter which he said showed police ‘charging’ a bar near the Liverpool fanzone in the Nation area.


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