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EURO 2016

Prosecutor: Russian thugs "highly trained" for violence

The chief prosecutor in Marseille, Brice Robin, says the 150 Russian involved in skirmishes were "prepared for ultra-rapid, ultra-violent action"

Prosecutor: Russian thugs "highly trained" for violence
Lars BaronGetty Images

Russians trained to fight were involved in the worst of the fan violence that erupted in Marseille at the start of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, the French city's chief prosecutor said on Monday.

Thirty-five people, most of them English, were injured during three days of fighting involving Russian, English and French fans and in clashes with riot police in Marseille's Vieux Port (Old Port).

European soccer's governing body, UEFA, has said it is "disgusted" by the scuffles inside and outside the stadium in Marseille and has threatened to throw the Russian and English teams out of the championship if the violence persists.

"There were 150 Russian supporters who in reality were hooligans," Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin told a news conference. "These people were well prepared for ultra-rapid, ultra-violent action."

The prosecutor said trials would be held later on Monday for 10 people held in police custody -- six Britons, an Austrian and three French nationals. All were charged with violence involving a weapon.

Asked why no Russians faced a court hearing, the prosecutor said they had carried out lightning strikes which made arrests difficult and that closed-circuit television was still being studied.

"These are highly trained people," he said.

Robin said some Russian supporters were turned back on arrival at Marseille's international airport but that others had arrived overland.


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