UPDATED WITH FRENCH OFFICIALS' COMMENTS
PARIS (AA) – A far-right Russian activist has said that a group of Russian football supporters was in the process of being deported from France on Tuesday over its role in the violence that marred the opening matches of the Euro 2016 tournament.
A bus carrying around 50 Russian supporters was stopped by French riot police, tweeted Alexander Shprygin, the leader of a notoriously far-right Russian supporters’ group, who was also on the bus.
The bus carrying Russian fans was stopped and searched in the town of Mandelieu near Cannes, before the authorities took it to Marseille’s police headquarters. The bus had been heading to Lille, where Russia is set to play Slovakia on Wednesday.
Shprygin tweeted that the group was refusing to be deported and that the Russian consul and the mayor of Cannes had arrived on the scene.
French police had earlier verified the identities of 29 Russians at a hotel near Marseille in the south of France suspected of being involved in last weekend’s clashes.
Speaking on television, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve later confirmed that police had detained a group of Russia fans.
Marseille police chief Adolphe Colrat said they “have evidence, precise enough to show that some of them took part in unacceptable violence in Marseille”.
In comments broadcast on French television, Colrat said 43 people were on the bus, 35 of whom had refused to get off until the Russian consul arrived. Six were sent to regional detention centers and are in police custody, claiming to be part of the Russian sports ministry.
“If the administrative authority believes these people pose a threat to order and public security, they will be taken to the border,” Colrat said.
Saturday night saw Russian hooligans attack English fans in the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, with more than 30 people injured.
The Correctional Court of Marseille on Monday handed prison sentences to a group of 10 supporters: six Britons, three French nationals and an Austrian. Sentences ranged from suspended terms between six months to two years plus bans from France for the foreigners.
However, a group of 150 Russians “responsible for much of the violence in Marseille” escaped arrest, Marseille Chief Prosecutor Brice Robin said on Monday.
European football’s governing body accused Russian fans of crowd disturbances, racist behavior and throwing fireworks and missiles.
UEFA gave Russia a 150,000-euro fine ($168,500) on Tuesday and said the country would be disqualified should similar incidents happen.
- British reinforcements
Britain announced it would send more police to France to help prevent further crowd trouble involving British football fans.
The extra officers “particularly trained in public disorder and issues around football disorder” would be deployed ahead of the Euro 2016 match between England and Wales on Thursday, a spokeswoman for U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron told the Daily Mirror newspaper.
“We are also responding to a request from the French to provide extra support from the British Transport Police on rail services around Lens which is where Thursday's game is taking place,” the spokeswoman said.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning.
*Anadolu Agency Correspondent Michael Daventry contributed to this report from London