Violent altercation preceding Serbia-England Euro 2024 opening match in Gelsenkirchen, Germany

(MENAFN) A violent altercation preceding the Serbia-England Euro 2024 opening match in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, has resulted in criminal charges against seven Serbian nationals and one UK citizen, as reported by The Guardian based on local Police statements. The incident, which escalated into a mass brawl involving approximately 150 individuals, unfolded outside a restaurant where Serbian fans were gathered before the game.

According to police accounts cited in the report, the confrontation erupted when English supporters attempted to enter the restaurant where Serbian fans were dining. The exact trigger for the violence remains unclear, with authorities unable to determine definitively which party initiated the altercation. Witness videos circulating online captured scenes of chaos, depicting overturned chairs and tables, bottles being hurled, and physical altercations spilling onto the streets.

The severity of the brawl prompted an urgent response from approximately 200 German riot police dispatched to the scene to restore order. Reports indicate that multiple individuals, including several fans and at least one police officer, sustained serious injuries during the melee. Disturbing footage also showed individuals being escorted into ambulances with visibly severe head injuries, indicative of the intensity of the clashes.

Initial accounts from witnesses suggested that the brawl may have been premeditated, with allegations of a group of masked men launching an orchestrated attack inside the bar. Conflicting reports also emerged regarding the instigators, with some claiming involvement from Albanian nationals wearing England football attire. However, local authorities clarified that the altercation involved only English and Serbian fans, both categorized as "high risk" due to past incidents involving their respective supporter bases.

As investigations into the incident continue, the Gelsenkirchen authorities are focusing on identifying all individuals involved and determining the sequence of events leading to the outbreak of violence. The repercussions from this episode are likely to impact security measures and fan conduct protocols as Euro 2024 progresses, highlighting ongoing challenges in managing crowd behavior during high-profile sporting events.



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