Violence in Marseille Over Algeria, Egypt Soccer

Reuters, November 14, 2009

Rioters smashed shop windows, hurled stones at police and set fire to several boats moored in the southern French port of Marseille after Egypt beat Algeria in a soccer World Cup qualifying match on Saturday.

A police spokesman said more than 500 officers were deployed in the centre of Marseille, an often volatile city with a large North African immigrant population and football supporters who are considered among the most passionate in France.

Egypt won the match, which was played in Cairo, 2-0.

Police said they had made eight arrests, mostly for throwing objects, while one man was arrested for setting fire to a rubbish bin.

At least six boats were damaged and two were sunk when a fire was sparked by a smoke bomb of the kind seen frequently in French football stadiums.

Police said the trouble began after youths of Algerian origin reacted in frustration when Egypt scored towards the end of the first half of match, in which the two teams were vying to qualify for next year’s World Cup.

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