Riot police drafted in for England World Cup clash

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The Independent Online
POLICE in Oslo mounted a huge security operation last night to prevent fresh clashes involving English football hooligans in Norway for England's world cup match. Squads of riot police were on alert as 1,200 fans arrived for the game at the Ullevaal Stadium. Oslo appeared to be trouble-free.

The clampdown followed the arrest of 75 English supporters after violence erupted in Oslo city centre on Tuesday evening. In the most serious incident, trouble started in a pub when police tried to arrest a man for taking a beer glass onto the street. Fans claimed he merely went to salute the police. Others went to his aid, throwing missiles. Violence escalated and up to 100 fans became involved.

An Oslo police spokesman, Frank Jensen, said: 'People inside began to throw chairs out of the windows and were trying to hit the police . . . The whole place was destroyed.' He said they caused damage estimated at between pounds 40,000 and pounds 100,000. Four policemen suffered minor injuries.

Several people criticised police for 'heavy-handed tactics'. However, a police spokesman said: 'The Oslo police provoke no one and we hold a relatively low profile.'

Police said English fans started the trouble and seemed well-organised. They said several fans claimed they had been seeking revenge for an incident on Monday when bouncers attacked six supporters in a bar.

Nine more fans were arrested late last night making a total of 84 under arrest. Police indicated that those jailed would be 'denied entry', released today and allowed to make their own way out of Norway.

Last night nine fans were fined for illegally selling souvenirs and four for theft of tickets from Norwegian supporters. One man, with several convictions for football-related violence, was deported on Tuesday. Many are understood to have featured on a list of 200 potential trouble-makers identified by the British Football Intelligence Unit.

Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, urged Norway to prosecute trouble-makers.

Match report, page 40