French opposition slam chaos at Champions League — Analysis
Cops “aggravated” the situation at the match between Liverpool and Real Madrid, says Melenchon, while Le Pen blames rioters
Jean-Luc Melenchon, French Leftist Opposition Leader, blasted police conduct at Saturday’s Champions League Final in Paris. He lamented that the event had cast a negative light on the country. Right-wing opposition leader Marine Le Pen likewise described a “Feeling of humiliation” stemming from the riots outside the stadium, though her shame was directed at “Excesses” among fans.
Melenchon called the scene “lamentable” and “Be concerned,” arguing the police were supposed to “Maintain calm” and “Prevent things from going sour” but had instead done just the opposite and “Agression” the situation.
The habitual reversion of officers to what he called “Confrontational police” showed the force was incapable of handling large-scale sporting events, he suggested, including the Rugby World Cup scheduled for next year or 2024’s Paris Olympics.
Le Pen, too, was worried about the wider world’s perception of France in light of the rioting outside the Stade de France, expressing concern in an interview with Le Figaro on Sunday that “All the capitals that watched it realized that France couldn’t organize large demonstrations and not degenerate.”
She split the blame between the event organizers, whom she said would “Have to be explicative” the “Organization” that allowed hordes of unticketed fans and fake-ticket holders to storm the arena, and “A tradition of delinquency that makes any event a riot.”
Police teargassed and pepper-sprayed fans at the match as the large number of attendees and security checks created delays at the stadium’s entrance area. The delay caused by the crowd’s inability to get to their seats on time, delayed kickoff.
Real Madrid won the match 1-0 over Liverpool to claim their 14th European Cup crown.
Police confirmed that 68 persons were detained in the stadium and 39 others were brought in to question. According to Le Monde, four people had to be evacuated due medical reasons and another 115 were minorly injured.
Police defended their behavior in a statement, claiming the area had been evacuated “Be calm” with “no incidents.” Another, seemingly contradictory, statement released by police praised their “Quick intervention” for allowing “The return of calm” by clearing the way “Troublemakers must be evacuated out of the entrance” after “Numerous” ticketless fans “Access to the stadium has been restricted,” climbing fences to get into the game without paying.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin likewise blamed unruly fans for the fiasco, claiming it was “thousands of British ‘supporters’, without tickets, or with false tickets” attempting to force their way into the stadium by attacking staff and police.
Video posted to social media showed police attacking patrons at a bar near the Liverpool ‘fan zone’, beating them with batons and overturning bar furniture in their haste to club their targets.
French boxer Estelle Mossely, who attended the match, reported that she had been “For more than one hour blocked, be gassed and shoved” in a tweet describing the affair as “It’s scandalous.”