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article imageFrance expels Russian football fan leader for second time

By AFP     Jun 21, 2016 in World

Russian football activist Alexander Shprygin was expelled by France for the second time in four days on Tuesday, as police again fired water cannon and tear gas at Euro 2016 fans.

Shprygin, who has been linked to Russian far-right causes, was first expelled on Saturday and his visa cancelled over fan violence between Russian and England supporters.

He was arrested on Monday at a Toulouse stadium where Russia were playing. Shprygin was put on a plane to Moscow late on Tuesday, an Interior Ministry spokesman told AFP.

French prosecutors have largely blamed violence in Marseille on June 11 on the Russian supporters, and Shprygin was among fans rounded up following that incident.

Investigators believe he returned to France after flying to Barcelona and crossing the border by car to reach Toulouse where Russia lost 3-0 to Wales on Monday night.

Polish fans set off smoke bombs during the Euro 2016 group C football match between Ukraine and Pola...
Polish fans set off smoke bombs during the Euro 2016 group C football match between Ukraine and Poland at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille on June 21, 2016
Valery Hache, AFP

Shprygin put pictures of himself at the Toulouse stadium on Twitter and was detained as the game began.

The Russian activist, who has been pictured with President Vladimir Putin, told AFP before he was detained again that he crossed the Alps to get into France.

Shprygin again posted pictures of himself on an Aeroflot plane taking him back to Moscow.

French authorities expelled a total of 20 Russian fans on Saturday with Shprygin claiming that four of them had managed to get back into France for their country's last match.

Russian diplomats complained to France over the treatment of their fans before the 20 were ordered out.

- England fans in comas -

The beatings  broken bottles  tear gas  court cases and diplomatic shouting following clashes betwee...
The beatings, broken bottles, tear gas, court cases and diplomatic shouting following clashes between English and Russian fans in Marseille came as a stark warning ahead of Russia's third Euro 2016 match against Wales
Leon Neal, AFP/File

Russian fans are at the centre of a French inquiry into disturbances around England's June 11 game against Russia in which 35 were injured, mostly England fans.

England supporters Andrew Bache, 51, and Stewart Gray, 47, remain in comas fighting for their lives, French officials said.

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said investigators are still hunting the attackers in the two cases "which are considered attempted murder."

Robin has said much of the violence was provoked by Russian fans.

French police used water cannon and tear gas on Poland and Ukraine fans Tuesday during the latest ugly scenes to flare up in Marseille ahead of their encounter, which had been flagged by authorities as high risk.

Police said they were attacked after trying to separate rival groups of supporters at a roundabout near the Stade Velodrome with bottles thrown and a rubbish bin set alight.

One police officer was injured and four people were arrested near the stadium, while eight people were arrested earlier in the day at the Vieux-Port area of the city where Russian and English supporters fought on June 11.

Thousands of Poland supporters gathered in the district before heading towards the Velodrome stadium, holding a giant banner that said: "Defenders of European Culture".

An extra 1,000 police were drafted in for the match.

In Lens, where Turkey played Czech Republic, 18 people were arrested for using or possessing flares, police said. Five were Turkish fans detained inside the stadium.

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