Supporters who had been drinking for most of the day at the Queen Victoria pub in the Old Port district of the city threw bottles at French riot police, who used tear gas to disperse them. The officers, who wore full riot gear, were seen marching towards hundreds of England fans who ran away down the street.
Bare-chested England fans sang songs about the IRA and German bombers being shot down and fist fights broke out between English, French and Russian-speaking men. One man was thrown into the harbour after he was beaten to the ground by local fans.
The clashes came after a first night of violence in the southern French city on Thursday. Police with helmets, batons and shields grappled troublemakers to the ground on Friday night amid beer bottles and rubbish strewn across the cobbled streets, ahead of England’s opening game with Russia.
The second night of violence came in spite of British police forcing a notorious English football hooligan who has received widespread coverage in the French media as a potential agitator to surrender his passport in the UK.
James Shayler, 50, the so-called ‘Pig of Marseille’, was located by police who simply knocked on his front door in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, earlier this week.
Shayler was jailed in France in 1998 and acquired the nickname for his role in provoking violence when England played Tunisia here. But after he was quoted in several British newspapers predicting there would be a repeat of the 1998 violence this weekend, he was arrested and bailed at Northampton Magistrates Court, pending a police application for a banning order. He has had to surrender his passport.
#Euro2016 : #England fans in fresh clashes with riot police in #Marseille
Senior British officers have also arrested seven people who had planned to travel to France, two of whom have already been served with banning orders. Officers are operating at British ports and will stop individuals whose behaviour looks as if it poses a threat to public disorder and send them home, pending work to satisfy courts that they should be served with a banning order.
Police in Britain said that the English fans had been provoked by French locals on Thursday - an interpretation of events backed up by the manager of O’Malley’s, one of the bars at the centre of Thursday’s trouble. Though any notion of a return of a the old English hooligan culture is well wide of the mark, officers in the UK have been warning for weeks that French police are quick to step in dramatically and far less accustomed to dealing with anti-social behaviour when fans drink to excess. British police ‘spotters’ are attempting to help cultural understanding on the ground and limit confrontations.
The 1998 violence here took place in very similar circumstances to Thursday’s, with French agitators playing a far more significant role than Tunisians and English playing a less proactive role than some later appreciated.
A combination of hot weather, available alcohol and large numbers of supporters is far more likely to be a cause of trouble, British police believe, than Russian ultras, or Marseilles-based Tunisians seeking some kind of retribution for the 1998 clashes. The sheer volume of people out celebrating Ramadan this weekend adds to the potential for further disorder.
By Ian Herbert