Video of English fans throwing money at children stirs outrage on social media
Fan violence at Euro 2016 continued overnight in Lille, France
A group of English fans in France for the Euro 2016 soccer championship have been caught on video taunting begging children in the street, apparently throwing coins at boys, forcing them to scramble and race each other for the pickings.
Hundreds of English fans gathered outside a bar in Lille, chanting loudly, waving English flags and throwing empty plastic beer cups on the floor, according to a CNN correspondent who was at the scene earlier.
The Union of European Football Associations condemned the fans’ behavior, saying it “has always shown zero tolerance for any form of discrimination.”
The video that emerged Thursday set off a storm of criticism on social media, mostly from British people embarrassed by their fellow countrymen.
One Twitter user joked about the upcoming “Brexit” vote in which Britain will decide whether to stay in or leave the European Union: “Europe must be thinking, ‘Good riddance!’ “
A Russian sports journalist from the Tass government news agency posted the video – the latest in nasty images to emerge from the soccer championship, where arrests, injuries and hospitalizations have become daily occurrences.
Fan violence continued in Lille on Wednesday night, the day before England faced off against Wales in nearby Lens. Police made 36 arrests, and 16 fans were taken to the hospital.
Fans at the scene were heavily intoxicated, and CNN witnessed some approach children at another point, showing them money in their hands and then closing their fists to deny them.
On Thursday afternoon, England defeated Wales 2-1 in Lens, where 2,400 security officers were deployed, street cameras set up and alcohol regulations put in place.
Some of the worst violence so far surrounded the England-Russia match Saturday when at least 35 people were injured and some hospitalized in brawls.
In chaotic scenes, throngs of rival supporters rushed at one another, hurling bottles, chairs and other objects, and forcing police in riot gear to fire tear gas in response.
CNN’s Frederik Pleitgen and Alex Felton contributed from Lille, France.