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Euro 2012: Russian football fans to march in Warsaw

Category: Headlines

Published: 12th Jun 2012 13:49:03

Thousands of Russian football fans are expected to mark their national day by marching through the Polish capital Warsaw, before their team's match against Poland in Euro 2012.

There are fears of trouble during the march, given the historic rivalry between the two countries.

About 6,000 police officers are on duty for it, the BBC's Alex Capstick says.

Russia occupied Poland for more than a century and dominated it during the Cold War, after World War II.

The conservative Polish opposition has condemned the march as a provocation, but it has been approved by the authorities. It is expected to begin shortly after 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT).

The Russian national holiday marks Russia's declaration of sovereignty in 1990 - a key episode in the demise of the Soviet Union.

Polish media have highlighted fears that some Russian fans may sport Soviet flags and symbols - a highly sensitive issue for the many Poles who deplored communist rule.

"March or street war?" said a headline in the conservative Polish daily Rzeczpospolita. It quoted Wojciech Wisniewski, a member of the Polish Union of Football Fans, as saying "somebody really wants to make Polish football fans attack the Russians".

He said that while Polish fans were unhappy about the march, they would not stage any counter-demonstration.

European football's governing body Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings against Russia after a series of incidents involving the country's fans at Euro 2012.

Russian fans were caught on camera kicking and punching stewards inside the stadium at Wroclaw, in western Poland, after their team beat the Czech Republic 4-1 on Friday. Four stewards needed hospital treatment.

Anti-racist monitors at the match said a section of the crowd racially abused the Czech Republic's only black player, Theodor Gebre Selassie.

In a statement on Monday, Russian football association said: "We urge all football fans now in Poland to remember that they represent Russia. Please respect yourselves, your country and your team."

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Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1434142/Euro-2012-Russian-football-fans-to-march-in-Warsaw [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]

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