French police deployed tear gas on exultant Algeria supporters as their celebrations spiraled out of control, following a landmark World Cup match. Thousands of fans flooded streets across France with officers making at least 74 arrests.
The Algerian team drew with Russia (1-1) on Thursday night and qualified for the knock-out stages of the World Cup for the first time in history. The milestone moment was marked throughout France by the country’s large Algerian community.
While most of the celebrations were peaceful, there were outbreaks of trouble with some supporters clashing with police who retaliated by firing off tear gas.
In the southern city of Marseilles, violence flared at around 1.00am when groups of supporters began hurling stones at police cars. Officers quickly responded with tear gas and arrested at least 6 people in the unrest.
In the central city of Lyon, police were forced to deploy water cannon to control supporters who had torched a dozen vehicles.
"Groups took advantage of the crowds to create disorder," an officer told Le Monde newspaper.
The worst violence was witnessed in the North, with over twenty supporters detained for torching vehicles and vandalizing public property.
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Thousands of jubilant fans flooded Paris’ Champs Elysees, waving Algerian flags and chanting “Vive l’Algerie.” The raucous celebrations brought the iconic avenue grinding to a halt, as fans hung out of car windows and tooted their horns, reported Le Parisien newspaper.
There were no reports of violence in the French capital, but hundreds of police were deployed across the city to prevent any disorder.
Algeria will now go through to face Germany on Monday night, just a few hours after France play Nigeria.