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 Saturday, June 17
Riot police use water cannon
 
 Reuters

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- England soccer fans fought running battles with police and members of Brussels' immigrant community in the early hours of Sunday in the aftermath of a Euro 2000 soccer match between England and Germany.

English soccer fan
England's soccer fans didn't do their reputation any good in Belgium.

Hundreds of English fans returned by train from Charleroi, where England beat Germany 1-0, and fanned out in the center of the Belgian capital, where they clashed with local residents, mostly North African immigrants.

Residents and English fans played a cat and mouse game, with occasional running battles. After one clash, an injured man was left on the ground with a bleeding head.

A police official on the scene told a Reuters reporter that the man, from the immigrant community, had been wounded with a screwdriver.

Bottles flew through the air as groups of English fans and local residents clashed near the Brussels Stock Exchange building, a flashpoint in fighting Friday night.

Traffic along one of the city's main boulevards was temporarily halted.

Many English fans, revelling in their team's rare victory over archrival Germany, swigged beer from cans.

In one incident, English fans taunted riot police who responded with tear gas.

Riot police with dogs closed in on a group of English fans who had taken refuge in a bar, using tear gas to force them out. About 30 fans, clutching their hands to their mouths, came out of the bar one by one and were then arrested and loaded on buses.

Police could not say how many arrests had been made.

One policeman said about 3,000 English fans were believed to be in Brussels.

After several hundred fans got off a train from Charleroi in Brussels, authorities prevented the next two trains from stopping in the capital, forcing them to go on to the coast, the policeman said.

Several hundred English fans were put on trains from Charleroi bound direct to the port of Ostend, from where they were to be put on a specially hired catamaran to Dover, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

In the 24-hours surrounding the England-Germany match, more than 850 soccer hooligans had been arrested after disturbances in Brussels and Charleroi.

The England-Germany game had always been regarded as one of the highest-risk matches of the tournament because of the reputations of the hooligan fringe among the fans of both national teams.

Belgian police arrested 450 soccer fans in Charleroi on Saturday after using water cannon to break up drunken gangs of rival hooligans from England and Germany.
 


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