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The BBC's Lisa Holland
"The Belgian and Dutch police mean business"
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Sunday, 11 June, 2000, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Clashes after Euro 2000 opener
Brussels street violence
Brussels police used tear gas to disperse rowdy crowds
Riot police in Brussels clashed with rowdy football supporters on Saturday night after Belgium defeated Sweden in the opening game of Euro 2000.

What began as a celebration by flag-waving, singing soccer fans turned nasty when bottles and glasses were thrown at police who responded with charges and volleys of tear gas.

Brussels arrest
Brussels police arrest a man during disturbances
Thousands of soccer fans filled the centre of town after the match on the northern outskirts of Brussels which Belgium won 2-1.

Riot police fired tear gas to disperse crowds that tried to break through police lines to reach the Grand' Place.

Before the match, about two dozen people were arrested across Belgium on charges of ticket-touting, police said.

They included four Germans who were detained as they entered Belgium with 107 tickets for several Euro 2000 games.

Zero tolerance

Meanwhile Dutch police are warning potential troublemakers ahead of England's Euro 2000 match with Portugal that they too will be dealt with harshly.

We will arrest them or we will come down on them hard

Johann Beelan
Eindhoven Police
There had been fears that up to 17,000 England fans travelling without tickets would travel to Eindhoven for their team's opening game on Monday.

But officers from the London-based National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) believe there is no reason to expect more than 6,000 ticketless fans.

Even so it is likely to be a major test of Euro 2000's security arrangements and police are warning that tear gas and batons will be used if there is any trouble.

Over 10m has been spent by police on extra security measures for the tournament.

Eindhoven Police spokesman Johann Beelen said: "Eindhoven police is known as friendly but strict so we will be there in normal dress. But if there is trouble we will arrest them or we will come down on them hard."

Hundreds of English fans are due to attend Sunday's lunchtime match between Turkey and Italy in Arnhem.They are thought to have bought their tickets before it was known who would be playing.

Police in Arnhem have rejected suggestions that English hooligans would travel there to attack Turkish fans.

A spokesman said: "We are not saying that the English fans without tickets are not welcome in Arnhem but we are not encouraging them to come here.

"We do not believe that there will be a repeat of what happened in Copenhagen."

Suspected hooligans

Earlier on Saturday about two dozen suspected English football hooligans were turned back at the Dutch and Belgian borders.

Their names were on a list of known or suspected hooligans passed to police in the host counties.

Two UK soccer thugs travelling to Belgium on the Eurostar were also turned back after being spotted by British Transport Police.

Other convicted hooligans were ejected from Holland after being intercepted at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

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See also:

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10 Jun 00 | England
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09 Jun 00 | England
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09 Jun 00 | Belgium
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