| ||Associated Press|
COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- An Arsenal fan was stabbed as British and Turkish soccer fans clashed outside bars on a downtown square early Wednesday, hours before the UEFA Cup final between Galatasaray of Turkey and the English club.
Eight people in all were injured, including a British fan who sustained a head wound and a police officer. Four Britons and four Turks were arrested, police said after the hour-long melee was brought under control.
Police spokesman Finn Bach said the Arsenal fan "received a stabbing," that damaged a lung but said he was not "in a life-threatening condition." The fan was not identified in line
with Danish practice.
Helmeted riot police looked on as groups of people lingered on
Raadhuspladsen, or City Hall Square, which was littered with
plastic and broken glass, while several English fans emerged from
the bars where they had been holed up and headed back to their
The fighting broke out at about 1 a.m., when dozens of Turkish
fans attacked a club in which English fans had been spending much
of the evening. Police move in quickly and the rioters began
running around the City Hall Square, 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.
Galatasaray would 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.
Approximately 2,000 officers or 20 percent of Denmark's total
police force -- were taking part in what is the country's largest
soccer security operation ever. Galatasaray players are escorted by
unarmed members of Turkey's anti-terrorism squad.
Danish police bodyguards also were to protect some 200 lawmakers
and a dozen government members from Turkey who were expected to
attend the match. The group, including Foreign Minister Ismail Cem,
is scheduled to arrive a few hours before kickoff.
Some 24,000 tickets were sold in Turkey and Britain. Upon
arrival in Copenhagen, fans were receiving leaflets in which
authorities warned that troublemakers will be arrested and
foreigners violating Danish law face immediate expulsion from the country.
A Kurdish group canceled an anti-Turkey demonstration scheduled
for Wednesday after authorities said they could not gather near
Copenhagen's Parken stadium.
Bomb-sniffing dogs have searched the players' hotels and the stadium.
Outside the downtown, 39,000-seat stadium, some 1.7 miles of
fence have been erected to keep British and Turkish supporters
separated before and after the match.
|History repeated itself in another ugly scene as supporters of Galatasaray and Arsenal clashed in Copenhagen.|| |
Security a high priority for UEFA final