Riots Mar PSG Win in Paris

PSG fans Photo: Philippe Agnifili, flickr

PSG fans
Photo: Philippe Agnifili, flickr

Riots cut celebrations short for Paris Saint-Germain fans on Monday for the club’s first French league title in 19 years.

Fans had been waiting at Place du Trocadéro, where the victorious team was due to display their trophy and greet supporters. Once the players arrived on the podium, however, the crowd surged forward, prompting security to push back. This caused some belligerent fans began to throw missiles, smoke bombs, and other objects at riot police and staff. Police responded with tear gas, and the tension quickly escalated into an uproar.

This is not the first time that PSG has had trouble with rioting fans. Three years ago, a PSG fan was killed during a riot outside the Parc des Princes stadium. The violence has resulted in a less-than-favorable reputation for the football club, which has been scrambling to repair the damage from the ensuing uproar.

“Today should have been a day of celebration for the city of Paris,” said PSG in an official statement on Monday. “The party was spoiled by a few hundred troublemakers who have nothing to do with football.”

Thirty people were injured in the clash between the fans and security. Police made 21 arrests, and three of the injured were police officers. More than 800 officers were deployed to contain the melee and get the situation under control.

A ceremony had been scheduled for Wednesday at City Hall, at which PSG players were to raise the championship trophy from the building’s balcony. The ceremony has been cancelled in light of the riots.

Some attribute the riots to the fact that the celebrations were held at Place du Trocadéro, saying that the open space made fan convergence easy and crowd control difficult.

“You can’t expect…to host a trophy presentation at the Trocadéro,” said former PSG player Ali Bernabia.

PSG’s win at Lyon had been the club’s first league title since 1994.

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