Paris: Riots Follow Saint-Germain Soccer Victory
French soccer team Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) locked up its first Ligue 1 title in nearly 20 years this weekend, sending the team to the Champions League group stage and prompting celebration in Paris. Unfortunately, police and soccer fans did not get along during the celebration, and a riot in Paris has hurt fans and damaged property.
According to a BBC News report, at least 30 people have been injured and 21 have been arrested after a planned celebratory parade for PSG turned violent. Protesters were reportedly sporadically clashing with police for hours before the city was back under police control. A boat ride for PSG players and a trophy presentation scheduled for Wednesday have been cancelled.
The violence reportedly began when thousands of PSG fans grew restless while waiting for PSG players to show up at an event. Riot police fired tear gas and smoke bombs as fans threw rocks and other objects at police. The violence spilled out to the Champs-Elysees, where restaurants closed early and storefronts were vandalized.
PSG has issued a statement, saying that the riot was caused by “a few hundred troublemakers who have nothing to do with football.” The statement, in full:
The party was spoiled by a few hundred troublemakers who have nothing to do with football and even less with those that fill the Parc des Princes on match days with such passion and enthusiasm and in total security.
All the members of the club, the players and the directors, express to all those loyal and passionate fans their heartfelt regret that today’s trophy presentation ceremony had to be cut short.
The celebrations will continue this Saturday at the Parc des Princes for the Ligue 1 match against Brest, when the club and its fans will unite in the joy of Paris Saint-Germain’s first league title in 19 years.
Paris Saint-Germain is more determined than ever to build a huge European club, worthy of the French capital, and far removed from those intent on trying to destroy that dream.