Wales

Euro 2016: Carwyn Jones' call to protect Wales fans

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Media captionSupt Steve Furnham, head of Welsh Police forces in France, gives details of the drinking ban in Lille

First Minister Carwyn Jones has written to the French ambassador to the UK to emphasise France's duty to protect Wales supporters at Euro 2016.

The FA has raised "serious concerns" about security in Lille, where fans are due ahead of Thursday's match between England and Wales in nearby Lens.

Russia fans, involved in violence in Marseille, will also be in Lille to as their team plays Slovakia on Wednesday.

4,000 extra police are being drafted in and there is a crackdown on drinking.

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Image caption Russia will be disqualified from Euro 2016 if there is further crowd trouble

Shops and supermarkets in Lille selling alcohol have been ordered to close from 18:00 BST on Tuesday and not reopen before 06:00 on Friday.

People will also not be allowed to drink on the streets and only low alcohol beer will be sold in the fan zone.

There have been reports of minor scuffles between rival fans in Lille on Tuesday evening.

The moves come as Uefa, European football's governing body, gave Russia a suspended disqualification and a 150,000 euro (£119,000) fine for disorder at the game against England in Marseille on Saturday.

French police blamed 150 "well-trained" Russian hooligans for clashes before the game. Six England fans were jailed on Monday for their roles in the disorder.

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Image caption Police have praised the behaviour of Wales fans in Bordeaux

Thirty-five people have been injured - most of them England fans and four seriously - while a total of 20 people were arrested after three days of disorder.

Following the violence, Mr Jones wrote to the French Ambassador to the UK and the Home Secretary to emphasise the importance of protecting Wales' fans, who have been praised by police for their behaviour in Bordeaux when Wales beat Slovakia 2-1.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "He has emphasised that the French Interior Ministry's paramount duty is to protect the thousands of fans - including those from Wales - who have travelled to France to enjoy the tournament peacefully."

Supporters who are already in Lille have said they are worried about potential trouble in the city ahead of Thursday's England and Wales clash.

Lille itself saw disorder as Germany and Ukraine fans clashed on Sunday.

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Media captionAshton Allen says there is a large police presence at the railway station in Lille

Ashton Allen, 22, originally from Cardiff, travelled from London on Tuesday. He planned to watch the game in the city's fan zone.

He said: "I'm a little bit anxious to be honest.

"But hopefully, with the police presence we've seen we should be ok."

Wales fan Lewis Payne, 22, who also made the trip from London, added: "I think it's a lot more secure.

"I hope now that some people have learnt their lesson. Hopefully now we can just enjoy it, all fans from all countries."

Home Secretary Theresa May has announced more British police officers trained in football disorder are being deployed to France ahead of the England v Wales match.

They will include additional British Transport Police officers on rail services around the area, following a request from French authorities.


BBC Wales' Gareth Lewis in Lille

Image caption Many Welsh fans will be travelling from Bordeaux to Lille

"What do we do about hooligans?" asks the front page of Tuesday's La Voix du Nord (Voice of the North).

For a tournament that started with fears of the threat of terrorism, a familiar face which many thought had disappeared has raised its ugly countenance again.

Measures to tackle the former threat are visibly in place. There are bag searches before you can enter Lille's Eurostar station.

But the unpredictability of the next few days in northern France is concentrating minds.

As of Tuesday morning, Lille is quiet, but the bulk of the fans have not arrived yet. It must also be said that the bulk of the fans are likely to behave.

The local authorities are expecting 10,000 Russians and 7,500 Slovaks for Wednesday's match in Lille, not counting those without tickets.

For Wales v England 20 miles down the road in Lens on Thursday the numbers are even greater - 50,000 England fans in total and 20,000 Welsh.

'Precaution and security'

Those without tickets are being told to stay away. Most are expected to congregate in Lille, the region's biggest city.

There are strict regulations in place on the sale of alcohol, particularly take-away, although it remains to be seen how firmly they will be enforced.

Some businesses in Lens have taken matters in to their own hands.

Speaking to La Voix du Nord, Marie and Gilles, who run a convenience store 200m from the ground, have decided to shut up shop on match day.

"We are applying the principles of precaution and security," they say.

"We sell lots of glass bottles which could be used as missiles. It is a risk we are not willing to take."

For the moment Lille carries on as normal. Is this the calm before a coming storm or will the hooligans answer the question posed by the local paper and decide to behave themselves?

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