[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 June, 2004, 19:24 GMT 20:24 UK
Fans seek calm night in Albufeira
By Duncan Walker
BBC News Online in the Algarve

England fans packed out the Estadio da Luz stadium

England fans in Albufeira are hoping for a trouble-free night after clashes with Portuguese police in the early hours of Tuesday led to 14 arrests, including 12 Britons.

After a quiet day bars and restaurants slowly began to fill up with good-humoured fans as evening arrived.

Many had spent the day on the beach and were looking forward to watching some football and having a few beers.

Not long after six in the evening the first chants of "England, England" could be heard.

'Quiet day'

"It's been really quiet during the day and we're hoping for things to stay calm tonight," said Carl Glass from Halesowen, in the Midlands.

The 12 Britons arrested are due in court on Wednesday morning.

Portuguese police, who said 400 people were involved in the disturbances, had been keeping a low profile amid claims they had been heavy-handed.

Riot and mounted police had moved in the early hours of the morning, to deal with scuffles involving football fans.

Thursday will be D-Day. It's a five o'clock start, the game is too far away for many fans so they will stay here and drink
Helio Martins, nightclub manager

The trouble took place by a strip of bars and restaurants in the centre of Albufeira.

Helio Martins is manager of the Paradise Club, close to where much of the trouble erupted last night, and said he was confident there would be no repeat of that trouble.

He said he would stay open until 0400 BST as usual.

Helio added he was more worried about the England vs Switzerland game in two days time.

"Thursday will be D-Day. It's a five o'clock start, the game is too far away for many fans so they will stay here and drink, he said.

"Who knows which way it will go."

Darrel Scobie, from Alton, said he wanted to steer clear of potential trouble spots.

"I was disgusted with some of the fans last night," he said.

"This wasn't the kind of place we wanted to bring our girlfriends to."

All-day drinking

Earlier on Tuesday, fans said they feared there fighting could take place as many people has been drinking all through the day on Monday.

One fan, Pete Mander said he believed Portuguese police mishandled the situation, forcing people onto the street by closing bars and then over-reacting when glasses were thrown.

John Prosser and Catherine Craggs
There's lots of families around, and a very friendly atmosphere
John Prosser, with his partner Catherine Craggs

"The police obviously thought they were going to get showered (with glasses) and went in."

At least 10 people were treated at a local hospital for minor injuries.

Ross Woodley, 26, from Southampton, said: "The police needed to be there, but really it was just groups of supporters singing England songs, they misjudged it." A Portuguese police statement said they had acted after fans caused disturbances on public roads and in bars.

It said one officer had received minor injuries and that one Russian and one Portuguese person had also been arrested.

By Tuesday lunchtime the resort was back to normal, with family groups joining the many fans at the cafes and beaches.

David Hemmings and partner
It's just a few idiots
David Hemmings

John Prosser and Catherine Craggs from Wolverhampton are on holiday with their 11-month-old son, Samuel.

"There's lots of families around and it's a very friendly atmosphere", said Mr Prosser.

"Whether there's football on or not you're always going to get noise into the night."

Some Albufeira residents were not surprised by what had happened though, suggesting that English visitors cause trouble all too often.

"It's just a few idiots", said David Hemmings, who moved to Portugal five weeks ago.

"It's all families here and there's a really nice atmosphere most of the time."


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Richard Bilton
"Portuguese police say they used as little force as possible"



RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific