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Seven Serbia fans arrested ahead of Euro 2024 clash with England

Police stand next to a restaurant decorated with Serbian flags ahead of the Euro 2024 Group C match against England (Markus Schreiber/AP)
Police stand next to a restaurant decorated with Serbian flags ahead of the Euro 2024 Group C match against England (Markus Schreiber/AP)

Seven Serbia fans have been arrested after violent clashes in Gelsenkirchen ahead of their Euro 2024 opener against England.

Videos circulating on social media show trouble brewing on a side street, with tables, chairs and bottles thrown before riot police arrived.

Some people were injured, with former England striker Stan Collymore posting a picture of a man covered in blood on the social media site X accompanied by the message: “Police vans en masse in Gelsenkirchen centre now. Kicking off in tiny groups.”

Gelsenkirchen police confirmed to the PA news agency that all the arrests were of Serbian citizens.

A spokesman said: “There was a confrontation between Serbian and English football fans in the city of Gelsenkirchen.

“The two fan groups were separated. Seven people were taken into custody. There was also a complaint of grievous bodily harm. The background to this is still unclear.”

A spokesman for the UK Football Policing Unit added: “We are aware of an issue in Gelsenkirchen ahead of the England v Serbia match.

“Our German colleagues have made a number of arrests of what we currently believe to be Serbian supporters. At this stage we do not believe that any UK nationals have been arrested but enquiries are ongoing.

Serbia fans in Gelsenkirchen
Serbia fans in Gelsenkirchen (Martin Meissner/AP)

“Our officers are at the location speaking to German colleagues. Our investigation team is now reviewing footage of the incident and, if any UK nationals have been involved, football banning orders will be sought.”

There have also been further reports and videos circulating of England fans signing ’10 German bombers’, defying warnings from German police.

Meanwhile, Hamburg police shot a man they say was armed with an “axe-like object” and a “Molotov cocktail” just hours before the city staged its first game of the tournament.

The German city’s police force said officers were threatened by the individual and, after he refused to drop the incendiary device, he was shot in the leg.

An object marked with a spray circle lies at the scene of an incident in Hamburg
An object marked with a spray circle lies at the scene of an incident in Hamburg (Steven Hutchings/AP)

The incident took place near the city’s fan park in the St Pauli district around two-and-a-half hours before the Netherlands faced Poland at Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion.

A statement from Hamburg police read: “According to current findings, a man came out of a locality around 1230pm (CET) and threatened police forces with a pickaxe/axe-like object. He was asked by them to drop this item.

“He also threatened the police officers with a Molotov cocktail in his hand, which he did not drop despite being asked and continued to walk towards the officers.

“The police then used their service weapon and shot him in the leg. This prevented further attacks and no emergency services or other bystanders were injured.

“The police officers immediately provided first aid, which was continued a short time later by medical personnel. The man is currently receiving further care in a hospital.”

Pictures on social media had earlier shown thousands of Netherlands supporters in the city enjoying the build-up to the Group D opener.

The incident reportedly took place near to where a large crowd of Dutch supporters were gathered, however the police could not say whether the fans were being targeted.

“A football connection cannot currently be determined, nor are there currently any insights into other motivations,” Hamburg police added.