Fans clash at India v Pakistan game

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The Independent Online
FIGHTING BETWEEN Indian and Pakistani supporters marred the end of the Cricket World Cup clash in Manchester last night. After India, the underdogs, clinched victory, thousands of fans ignored pleas not to invade the pitch, where powerful firecrackers were set off.

There were sporadic fights in front of the pavilion and clashes with police as they tried to persuade supporters to leave the pitch. Most of the trouble seemed to centre on a group of more than 100 Pakistani supporters who clashed with Indians and the police. The firecrackers scattered the packed crowd and injured one man, although the incident was not believed to be malicious. At least one burning Indian flag was thrown into the air.

Police had mounted a large operation amid fears of violence, heightened by tension between the two nations over the dispute in Kashmir. The match commander, Chief Superintendent Alan Hutchings, said there were four minor skirmishes in the ground but no arrests. A small army of security men tried to keep the playing area clear but had to form a cordon in front of the pavilion as the fans converged on it.

Police led away some supporters but it was not immediately clear how many arrests had been made. Until the chaotic final scenes, they had praised supporters for their good- natured behaviour.

Chief Supt Hutchings said: "Today has been a real carnival of cricket. Both sets of fans have had a great time and the vast majority have behaved very well. Out of 22,500 people, only three people were arrested and those for minor public order offences." Police and security men took nearly half an hour to clear the pitch after the last Pakistan wicket fell.

India's day, page 25