Soccer-Police arrest 14 for throwing fireworks at English fans

by Reuters
Thursday, 19 June 2014 19:58 GMT

(updates figure of arrests to 14, adds background)

SAO PAULO, June 19 (Reuters) - Brazilian police arrested 14 people accused of throwing fireworks at English fans outside a bar in Sao Paulo on Thursday, hours before England were to play Uruguay in the World Cup.

A group of youths, many with their faces covered, threw several fireworks in the direction of the English fans, a police spokesman told Reuters.

No one was injured in the incident, two other local police officials said.

"All of the sudden bottles started flying and fireworks were being thrown in our direction," English fan Mark Edward told local newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo. "I know that the English fans have a very bad reputation, but there was no retaliation. Everyone simply ran."

The nationality of all the arrested was not immediately determined, but most of them were believed to be Brazilians, the police said.

They were arrested carrying at least one knife, several fireworks, brass knuckles and a mouth guard.

Brazilian security officials are worried about fights between fans during the World Cup as hundreds of ticketless foreign supporters mill around outside stadiums or Fan Fests.

Brazil has beefed up security in and outside stadiums, deployed undercover cops and stepped up control at its borders to bar hooligans from Argentina and other countries from entering the country, police officials in some host cities said.

A record 30 people died in soccer-related violence last year in Brazil, the highest in the world after Argentina and Italy, according to data compiled by Brazilian researcher Mauricio Murad.

Soccer's governing body FIFA has seen its security breached in several occasions during the tournament. On Wednesday, dozens of Chilean fans stormed Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium in a bid to watch their team play Spain. (Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by Kieran Murray)

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