French politicians criticise police over Champions League chaos

French politicians criticise police over Champions League chaos

French opposition politicians have criticised the government over the policing at the Champions League final in Paris on Saturday night, saying the chaotic scenes showed a poor image of France.

Jean-Luc M lenchon, the radical left leader, said the lamentable and worrying scenes suggested France and its security services were not prepared for sports events such as next year s Rugby World Cup or the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Security checks led to bottlenecks and police deployed teargas before the delayed kick-off in the match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France.

M lenchon said that the police's job was to ensure calm and prevent things going badly but that they had done the opposite and aggravated the situation. He said that the police should have been better prepared, including for the arrival of fans from England in large numbers. He said that confrontational policing, which led to clashes and trouble at demonstrations in Paris, had been the habitual doctrine of what he called confrontational policing.

The newspaper Le Parisien said that these few hours of chaos have left an aftertaste of fiasco for the organisers. They raise questions one year ahead of the Rugby World Cup and two years ahead of the Olympics. The French champion boxer Estelle Mossely, who was among the crowds blocked outside the stadium, tweeted that it was scandalous and had been blocked for more than an hour, gassed and shoved. In the early hours of Sunday morning, French police authorities said 68 arrests had been made around the stadium, and 39 people had been taken into custody for police questioning. The police said 115 supporters had been seriously injured and four people were evacuated for medical attention.

In a tweet sent just before midnight, interior minister G rald Darmanin appeared to blame Liverpool fans for the problems.

Thousands of British supporters with false tickets have forced the entrances, and sometimes have been violent to stadium staff, he said. He thanked the police for their work in this difficult situation A police statement issued in the early hours of Sunday morning said that many supporters without tickets or fake tickets had disturbed access to the stadium before the game. The police said some people had taken advantage of this to climb the fence protecting the stadium entrance.

The statement said that the police intervention allowed a return to calm and for troublemakers to be evacuated from the entrance. After the match, supporters were dispersed without difficulty and there were no major incidents in the two fanzones elsewhere in the French capital.

A separate statement from the Paris police said the fanzones had been evacuated and closed calmly with no incidents. French journalist Remy Buisine posted a video on Twitter showing police charging a bar near the Liverpool fanzone in the Nation area.