Rival fans clash in Copenhagen

Police fired tear gas in a city square to disperse rowdy British and Turkish fans who were throwing bottles ahead of the UEFA Cup final between Galatasaray of Turkey and Arsenal, a match already marred by overnight clashes and the stabbing of an Arsenal fan.

Police fired tear gas in a city square to disperse rowdy British and Turkish fans who were throwing bottles ahead of the UEFA Cup final between Galatasaray of Turkey and Arsenal, a match already marred by overnight clashes and the stabbing of an Arsenal fan.

Hundreds of Turkish fans decked out in red and yellow Galatasaray jerseys were rushing around the square, just yards from Copenhagen's landmark amusement park Tivoli gardens, while helmeted riot police struggled to gain control of the situation. A crowd of them was threatening an English pub, where British fans were gathered.

Details were sketchy, but helmeted riot police had surrounded another outdoor cafe, where they were trying to keep the rowdy fans from picking up chairs to throw at them.

The outburst broke out during rush hour, miring the downtown traffic.

Several groups of Turkish fans and some Danes were gathered on the City Hall Square, where the overnight clashes occurred, but police were forming a line and pushing people away to clear the area.

It was not clear how the melee began in the late afternoon but the private Turkish television station NTV reported that fans had been taunting each other and throwing chairs and other debris, private Turkish television NTV reported. Few police were on the square when the violence began but appeared shortly afterward and fired the tear gas.

Several people appeared to be injured, but police were not giving any details.

The owner of a snackbar on the square who refused to give his name said a group of people wearing Galatasaray jerseys attacked an English fan with a still-bloody chair from a cafe and he was taken away in an ambulance.

The mood in the Danish capital has been tense all day after early morning fighting that broke out on another main square, injuring eight people and resulting in the arrests of four Britons and six Turks. Three of the Britons arrested were not residents of Denmark and were being expelled from the country, police spokesman Flemming Steen Munch said.

An Arsenal fan remained in hospital Wednesday after he had received a stabbing that punctured his lung, police chief Ove Dahl said. The man, who was not identified in line with Danish practice, was not in a life-threatening condition.

At least 24,000 Turkish and British fans have flocked to Copenhagen to watch Galatasaray take on Arsenal Wednesday night. Galatasaray is trying to become the first Turkish club to win one of Europe's two major club championships.

The game has been classified as high risk by soccer officials, partly because of fears that British hooligans may attempt to avenge the killing of two English fans last month on the eve of Leeds' first-leg semifinal in Istanbul against Galatasaray.

Police were conducting Denmark's most extensive ever in connection with a soccer match, with approximately 2,000 officers - 20 percent of Denmark's total police force - dispatched for the game. They were being assisted by some two dozen policemen came from Britain, Turkey and other European countries.

For much of the day, Danes were mingling in a sea of red and yellow Galatasaray jerseys and red and white Arsenal shirts and flags that filled the city's busy pedestrian street, Stroeget, Wednesday but spirits that were high as fans started to arrived the day before seemed dampened by the fighting.

"I'm very sad, I'm sorry," said Serdar Altinsoek, a 37-year-old banker who traveled from Ankara, the Turkish capital, for the game.

Police said earlier Wednesday they had no plans to increase the already extensive security.

"The events don't change anything. We're sticking to our original plan," Munch said. "We'll be heavily present tonight."

The Arsenal club offered to reimburse fans for the match and plane tickets if they were concerned about going to the Danish capital, but several strollers said they had declined the offer.

In Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit urged the soccer fans to avoid violence.

"Sports should be an initiative for friendship, not for fighting," Ecevit said at a news conference.

Police were not certain what exactly triggered the fighting that broke out at about 1 a.m.

Dozens of Turkish fans attacked a pub in which English fans had been spending much of the evening. Helmeted riot police moved in quickly but rioters began running around one of the city's main squares, approaching another bar.

Many English fans responded by rushing out of the bars and people were throwing bottles and chairs at each other and fighting.

At one point, four Arsenal fans kneeled over the man who had been stabbed and was writhing on the ground in pain, his shirt drenched in blood. The supporters were using their shirts to help stench the blood and tried to shield him from photographers.

"We don't think what happened last night has anything to do with (soccer) hooliganism," Munch told The Associated Press. "This could have happened during a rock concert or anytime when you have a lot of people on a limited spot."

Some 24,000 tickets were sold in Turkey and Britain, and more than 11,000 in other European countries.

Outside the Parken stadium, 1.7 miles of fence has been erected to keep British and Turkish supporters separated before and after the match.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before