Arrests in Paris as English fans scuffle

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The Independent Online

Fourteen English soccer fans in Paris for tonight's football friendly were arrested as scuffles broke out last night.

Fourteen English soccer fans in Paris for tonight's football friendly were arrested as scuffles broke out last night.

The supporters, in police custody today, were held for drunkenness and other minor disturbances.

A National Criminal Intelligence Service spokesman said the arrests followed a number of separate incidents across the city.

He said the trouble had been minor and there appeared to have been no major disturbances so far.

Thousands of fans arriving in the city for the friendly match against the world and European champions appeared in good spirits.

Supporters in the city since yesterday reported skirmishes outside city centre bars overnight between English fans and members of the city's large north African community .

So far, more than 20 people have been banned from travelling under a new law rushed through Parliament and which came into force this week after violence at Euro 2000.

Two Brighton fans were yesterday banned from all matches for two years and a man from Swindon was given a similar ban on Wednesday.

Twenty-one more supporters were told to surrender their passports as a condition of bail when their cases were adjourned.

In Paris's Place de Clichy area overnight a small gathering of English fans were chanting "no surrender to the IRA" into the early hours of the morning.

French police have stepped up their presence at sea and airports but a spokesman in Paris said there appeared to have been no major incident of disruption.

But, mindful of the trouble that surrounded English fans in Belgium during this summer's Euro 2000 tournament, he added that police were keeping a very watchful eye open and would take no nonsense.

Supporters began to congregate in bars and cafes along the Champs-Elysees and in the popular Montmartre district for breakfast.

Police kept a relatively low profile on the streets of the city both last night and this morning.

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