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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 June 2006, 00:43 GMT 01:43 UK
Unsurprising location for stand-off
By Claire Heald
BBC News, Stuttgart

After a six-hour stand off with police, at least 150 English supporters and a handful of Germans were arrested in the central square in Stuttgart on Saturday night.

England supporters are led away
England fans were held in the main square before being led away

Police moved in to arrest England supporters after confrontation with their German counterparts.

English fans had been drinking at a bar in the corner of Stuttgart 's main square since 0800 local time and it was the scene of 122 arrests on Friday night.

So it was an unsurprising location for a stand-off between fans, after Germany beat Sweden 2-0.

The singing had started early and there was a boisterous atmosphere all day as the English at the outside tables attempted to out-chant the German supporters crowding nearby.

It had been loud -and included renditions of songs like Ten German Bombers - likely to cause offence to the host nation.

The group was small - a couple of hundred people amid the 60,000 England fans that are expected in the city for Sunday's match.

It had been a peaceful atmosphere in the city and at the bar

During the day, Germans heading to watch the game in the Fan Fest big screen viewing area at the Schlossplatz filled Stuttgart with a show of their colourful support.

It had been a peaceful atmosphere in the city and at the bar.

But at 1900, German supporters left the arena, came up against their sporting rivals in a bottle-neck corner at the top of the square and stopped.

A stand-off ensued. When bottles, plastic beer jugs and chairs were thrown, the police moved in to separate the two groups.

The singing and chanting continued on both sides. Meanwhile, bar staff continued to bring out the beers for their paying customers.

Cell bound

Later, more missiles were thrown and people were injured.

Riot police surrounded the English outside the bar, while other police pushed the Germans supporters and crowds back. The tension escalated.

An England fan is taken away by riot police

At about 2145, riot police moved in, working in snatch squads to pick out trouble-makers among the English and take them away. Their approach was more aggressive than that seen here on Friday night.

Lines of riot police surrounded the 200-strong group that remained at the bar, pushing them down front steps and into the square.

While nearby, tens of thousands of football fans watched Argentina beat Mexico 2-1 in a purely peaceful atmosphere, police penned in the crowd.

And one by one they were taken away and arrested. Buses were brought in to round them up when police detention vans could not cope with the numbers,

The evening's entertainment on the square's main stage was a Bob Geldof concert.

It is unlikely these people will see the football match they are supposed to be here for

After midnight , while Geldof played to a crowd of 30,000 people, the remainder of the group were led away.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, police said 150 people had been arrested so far, and that figure was expected to rise to 200 or 250, most of whom were English.

It is unlikely these people will see the football match they are supposed to be here for.

The 122 arrested on Friday night will not be out of police custody until Monday morning. It is an approach the Germans call preventative arrest.

It seems likely the latest group bound for the cells will suffer the same punishment.




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