Riot police throw more tear gas at fans in Marseille

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Riot police again threw tear gas at rowdy soccer fans in Marseille's crowded Old Port on Saturday, just hours before England was to play Russia at the European Championship.

It was the third straight day that riot police have used tear gas to disperse hundreds of fans drinking at cafes lining the port.

After the gas drifted away, some bare-chested fans held up England flags and shouted at police.

The violence marred earlier peaceful scenes at the port, when fans mingled with tourists as relaxed police looked on. It also came despite UEFA repeating its appeal to fans to behave, saying it was "confident that the safety of travelling fans will be ensured by the local authorities which are responsible for order in the city."

Local authorities laid out separate routes to enter the Stade Velodrome for England and Russia fans in an attempt to keep the groups apart before the 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) kickoff of the Group B match. Several hours before the match, small groups of fans were gathering peacefully outside the stadium.

England coach Roy Hodgson had also urged fans to "avoid any troubles lurking around the corner."

Jean Patrick Berbera rushed early Saturday to install extra security shutters to his store in the Old Port area.

"The police did their jobs, but, well, it sort of kicked off a civil war at the port last night," Berbera said.

Gary Toal, an England fan from the northern city of Newcastle, said the violence in Marseille was overshadowing Euro 2016, which opened Friday with host France's 2-1 victory over Romania in Saint-Denis.

"It's not everybody but there are a lot of people involved," Toal said. "It is a bit of a mob mentality and it's not nice to see so we are trying to keep away from all that and enjoy the football."


Associated Press reporter Andrew Drake contributed to this report.