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English Soccer Fans, Police Clash

June 14, 1998

MARSEILLE, France (AP) _ Police deployed reinforcements Sunday after hundreds of English fans in town for a World Cup match clashed with officers in the Old Port district overnight, officials said.

The violence broke out shortly before midnight Saturday, when a motorist who was blocked for several minutes by dancing English fans tried to push his way through, police said. His car struck and slightly injured an English fan, setting off the melee.

About 200 English fans showered police and their vehicles with bottles and cans, sending at least one officer to the hospital with a head injury. Four English fans were arrested.

Police said earlier that the clash on the Canebiere, the city’s main avenue, broke out between English and Marseille youths.

The incident came ahead of a match Monday between England and Tunisia, a game authorities consider a security risk. About 10,000 British fans were expected to attend, and thousands more were in town looking for tickets.

As a result of the overnight clash, authorities stepped up security early, with almost 2,000 officers patrolling the city.

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