Another day and more brawls on the streets during the Euro 2012 soccer tournament. These weren't exactly unanticipated occurrences either. The whole tournament seems to have become a platform for hooligan violence.
This time Russian soccer fans clashed with police and Poland supporters in separate incidents on Tuesday— shortly before the two teams met in an emotionally-charged match in Warsaw, Poland.
The news agency PAP reported that police used water cannons and tear gas to quell the violence and that there were 56 arrests and 7 reported injuries before the game.
Witnesses told The Associated Press that one of the incidents was sparked by Polish fans attacking the 5,000-strong march to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Russian independence from the U.S.S.R.. This was seen as provocative to many Poles who still harbor a grudge against the Moscow regime of the Cold War era.
A video of the fighting shows sucker punches being thrown and dozens of men kicking and beating each other with some of the injured lying bloodied in the streets.
Fans wearing ski masks scarfs to hide their identities threw bottles, chairs and stones at each other and Polish police are bracing for the worst if one of the teams loses— especially if there is a rout.
The two countries have a difficult history together and the fear is that there will be trouble after the match when emotions will run almost as high as the intoxicated fans.