Police charge rioting English fans

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The Independent Online

Portuguese mounted police charged rioting English fans early today after trouble erupted on the Algarve.

Portuguese mounted police charged rioting English fans early today after trouble erupted on the Algarve.

Ten Britons were arrested for public order offences after the fans, who had been drinking heavily, began throwing bottles outside a bar in Albufeira.

Initial attempts to calm the situation failed and police in riot gear were deployed to break up the crowd.

Several fans were handcuffed and marched away from the scene. The street outside the La Bamba bar was strewn with bottles and broken glass.

It was the first serious incident involving English fans in Portugal since the Euro 2004 tournament began at the weekend.

The trouble erupted just hours after England fans were praised by local police as an example to other nations.

Portuguese national police spokesman Alexandre Coimbra said not a single England supporter was arrested in Lisbon after coach Sven Goran Eriksson's team lost its opening game to tournament favourites France on Sunday night.

In contrast, hooligans went on the rampage across the UK following the 2-1 defeat.

Dozens of people were arrested and police came under attack with bricks and bottles and patrol cars were set alight as serious disturbances broke out in town centres as far apart as Croydon, south London, and Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

This morning's trouble was in the south of the country where thousands of English fans are staying in tourist accommodation during the tournament.Police spokesman Captain Manuel Jorge said a crowd of English fans had been drinking in the street near the La Bamba bar at around 1.30am.

He said: "They began throwing bottles at the police and we had to send in the horses to bring the situation under control.

"We arrested 12 people, ten Britons, one Portuguese and a Russian."In London, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said the British nationals had been detained for public disturbance-related matters.

"We are in touch with the authorities and consular assistance will be offered in the normal way," she added.