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Over 200 arrested in Austria during Euro 2008 matches

SoccerNews in European Championships 9 Jun 2008

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Over 200 people were arrested on Sunday in Austria on the second day of Euro 2008, including 157 mostly German fans in Klagenfurt, the interior ministry said on Monday.

Among those arrested in the south Austrian town, where Germany and Poland met for their first group stage match, were 144 Germans and 10 Polish fans, said ministry spokesman Konrad Kogler.

All except two fans have since been released, Klagenfurt police spokesman Gottlieb Tuerk told AFP.

They were not expected to be expelled from the country as previously reported in the media, he added.

Dozens of German supporters were arrested after chanting Nazi slogans, which is punishable by up to two years in prison under Austrian law.

But Carinthia police decided not to press incitement charges.

The chants did not target any person in particular and would be handled administratively as disturbing the peace, police said.

Four of the arrested fans were being charged with resisting arrest, one for fighting and another for breach of the public peace, Wolfgang Rauchegger, police chief for Carinthia province, told a press conference on Monday.

Twenty-three were charged with minor offences, while the reminaining 128 only had their identities checked.

Four of the hooligans arrested had already been listed as violent fans and banned from entering Switzerland and Austrian during the championship, Rauchegger also said.

But it was possible they had entered the country before Austria reimposed border controls on June 2 to prevent the arrival of foreign hooligans, he added.

A total 270,000 fans watched the two group B matches between Austria and Croatia, and between Germany and Poland, in public viewing zones installed in the four Austrian host cities on Sunday, the interior ministry said.

“We dealt with the problems well because we intervened quickly and in a reasonable manner,” said Kogler.

On Saturday, about 30 people had already been arrested in Austria and Switzerland, including sixteen in Klagenfurt following some fighting.

Meanwhile, host city Innsbruck in western Austria, was expected to welcome several thousands of Russian fans, including 12,000 who were expected to arrive by plane, for the first group D match between the two countries on Tuesday, said Christoph Platzgummer, a coordinator for Euro 2008.

They would be joined by 2,000 Spanish supporters.

A later game between Greece and Sweden in Salzburg was expected to bring 7,000 Greeks and 15,000 Swedes to Salzburg.

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