[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 17:45 GMT
Calm appeal after Rome stabbings
Italian police with batons
Italian officers with batons were brought in to break up the violence.
Police have appealed for calm ahead of Middlesbrough's Uefa Cup clash against AS Roma on Wednesday after three of the English club's fans were stabbed.

Cleveland Police said the attacks on Tuesday night came from an "organised gang of Italian thugs" who targeted two bars where English fans were drinking.

A total of 13 fans were injured when the violence flared.

Cleveland Police have set up a dedicated phone line for worried relatives to call.

The violence happened late on Tuesday as about 200 English fans gathered in Rome's central Campo de Fiori area.

I am appealing for the Middlesbrough people just to take this in their stride
Supt Steve Swales, Cleveland Police

A 39-year-old man who was with his 11-year-old son underwent surgery in Rome overnight and remains in hospital for observation. He is the only person still in hospital.

A spokesman for the British Embassy in Rome said five Italians were being held by local police.

Italian officers with batons were brought in to break up the violence.

Supt Steve Swales, Cleveland Police's commander on the Italian trip, appealed for calm ahead of Wednesday's second-leg tie at the Olympic Stadium.

He said: "People back in the UK will be listening to this and watching this during the course of the day. If they are in contact with relatives over here, we would appeal for calm.

Rome location map

"I am appealing for the Middlesbrough people just to take this in their stride, let us and let the Italian authorities deal with the matter."

A group of extremist Roma fans, known as Ultras, are being blamed for the attack. Reports said they were led by a man wielding an axe.

The travelling fans had been warned of possible trouble before they set off for Italy after the club received a detailed briefing from police.

Cleveland Police's dedicated phone line has been set up to give people who may be concerned at being unable to get in touch with family in Italy a contact point to call.

The line - 01642 302900 - is being staffed 24 hours a day.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See more about violence in Rome



SEE ALSO:
Liverpool fans stabbed in Rome
06 Dec 01 |  England


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


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific