Nice hit by fan violence ahead of Poland-Northern Ireland


The city of Nice has been hit by fan violence on the eve of Sunday's Group C encounter between Poland and Northern Ireland at the Stade de Nice.

Fans of both sides had been celebrating together throughout the day in an amicable atmosphere, but the ambience changed when a group of local supporters entered the scene around 23:00 local time (21:00 GMT).

Tensions grew when the Nice fanatics started provoking the Polish and Northern Irish fans at the Rue Saint-Francois-de-Paule in the old city centre and the situation eventually got out of hand when a bottle was thrown in the direction of the Northern Irish supporters.

A large scuffle ensued involving several hundred people, with numerous glasses, bottles, chairs and terrace tables thrown and several smaller fights taking place.

Police were quick to the scene to restore order, though, and made one arrest.

There were seemingly no major injuries among the rioters or bystanders.

Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has condemned the incidents, while thanking the police force for calming things down rapidly.

"Outbursts of violence in Nice tonight. The behaviour of these hooligans is unacceptable and must be strongly condemned," Estrosi tweeted.

"One arrest has been made following the incidents. The situation is now calm again. Thank you to the police."

The south of France has been struck by a number of violent incidents over the past few days, with England and Russia fans involved in fights in Marseille in the days before their Group B encounter on Saturday, with more taking place after their 1-1 draw.