Police use tear gas after fights in France

MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Trouble flared overnight in the southern French city of Marseille, where soccer supporters from England and local youths clashed briefly.

Witnesses said the clashes, outside a pub in the Mediterranean city’s Old Port district, were quickly dealt with by police, who used tear gas to restore calm.

Local youths were apparently involved in the trouble, along with English fans drinking in the pub. The England supporters had been drinking in local pubs and it was not known how the fights started.

Just before midnight, bottles were thrown by both groups and local youths were seen throwing plastic chairs.

Nearby businesses pulled down shutters on their premises as soon as there was a sign of trouble and police blocked access to the street where the fighting erupted.

Riot police with shields separated the two groups.

Ambulances were seen arriving just after midnight. It was not known if anyone was injured.

Britain’s Press Association news agency reported that one England supporter suffered a head injury in the brawl after being hit across the face with a wooden chair.

French television station BFM TV reported that two people were arrested following the incidents.

England is due to play Russia in its first European Championship match on Saturday.

England fans were involved in violent clashes with locals in Marseille during the World Cup in 1998.

Then, hundreds of English supporters and local youths clashed for several days in the city.

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