Police chief praises England fans for 'great atmosphere'

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The Independent Online

Thousands of England fans descended on this city yesterday - and police said the atmosphere was good, unlike Wednesday night's scenes in Dortmund where more than 400 people were arrested after outbreaks of fighting.

British and German police in Nuremberg were braced for any possible fan violence before and after England's game with Trinidad & Tobago, but said they had so far found only thousands of people eager to watch the football.

"I and my British colleagues have been moving through the city and everything is fine," Nuremberg's Police Deputy Chief Mark Huennemeyer said. "It's a great atmosphere."

In the northern port city of Bremerhaven, police used tear gas late on Wednesday to disperse rioters, after they threw bottles into a crowd watching a public screening of Germany's 1-0 victory over Poland and slightly injured several fans, police spokesman Uwe Mikloweit said. Five people were issued with written summons while nine were banned from the public screening area.

Of the 429 fans arrested Wednesday, 278 were German, 119 were Polish and the others came from different European countries that were not listed separately. All but three of them were released by yesterday.

In Nuremberg, estimates of England fans in the city varied from 50,000 to as many as 70,000 in the city. Overnight, two England fans were arrested for assault and another three people were detained for throwing plastic bottles, but later released, British police said.

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Thomas, of the Greater Manchester Police, who is helping British police work with their German counterparts, said that overnight the city was calm as Germans celebrated their win by taking to the streets, cheering and drinking.

"I have great admiration for the way the vast majority of supporters have behaved," Thomas said. "I am very optimistic it will last. I have been very impressed by the attitude of the German police and cannot speak highly enough of their professionalism."

Thomas said that since the start of the tournament 46 British nationals have been arrested, part of the more than 1,500 people arrested across the country.

Associated Press writers Bradley Klapper, in Berlin, and Matthias Armborst and Roy Kammerer, in Dortmund, contributed to this report

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