Chairs, tables disappear from Toulouse terraces for Wales v Russia tie
TOULOUSE (France)—The threat of fan violence around the Wales-Russia Euro 2016 match on Monday prompted Toulouse city officials to request cafe and bar owners to close their terraces.
Police are on alert for about 150 hardcore Russian fans who it is feared could cause a repeat of violent chaos around the England-Russia game in Marseille on June 11.
Thousands of Wales fans, along with a smaller number of Russians still packed the city centre cafes even though the Group B match has been added to a list of highrisk games by French authorities.
An extra 600 police have been added to the security presence which will be 2,100 in all.
Cafe chairs and tables were used as weapons in Marseille and Toulouse authorities called on cafe and bar owners to secure their terrace funiture and use only plastic cups for drinks ahead of Monday’s 1900 GMT fixture.
Bars, cafes and restaurants closed at midnight on Sunday, a measure that will be repeated on Monday night.
A Toulouse town hall statement said security “has been tightened in the town centre, around the Matabiau train station and at Toulouse-Blagnac airport.”
A directive issued on Friday by Pascal Mailhos, the regional government official, indicated that shops would be banned from selling glass bottles to fans.
A group of 20 Russian football fans including far-right agitator Alexander Shprygin were deported from France on Saturday.
Mailhos said “600 police officers” have been deployed around the city since Saturday and will remain until Tuesday.
A relatively peaceful atmosphere reigned over ‘La Ville Rose’ (The Pink City), as Toulouse is known, on Sunday night when mainly Welsh fans mingled with locals.
Few Russian were spotted in the city although one in particular was noted wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Others had Soviet-era national flags around their shoulders.
Thirty-fans were injured in the Marseille battles and two England fans left critically injured.—APP