REBLOG – “Don’t Believe Everything You Read” – a note on irresponsible press coverage from Marseille

June 12, 2016

England football fans have been getting a lot of condemnation in the media over the last few days due to the violence in Marseille at the European Championships. However, the eye-witness account re-blogged below of one of the early clashes casts events in a different light from the lazy, presumptive descriptions in the media, which as usual, just assume that the police are telling the truth.

While no one would assume that England fans are one hundred per cent innocent, they do appear in the main to have been the victims of violence more than its perpetrators. There is clear evidence from various sources other than this one that local French ‘ultras’ were early attackers, and that police use of tear-gas has been mostly zealous and unprovoked.

Meanwhile, Russian fans were the overwhelming aggressors on the night of the match between the two countries, with a number of gangs invading the English section of the stadium at full time in a manner chillingly reminiscent of the Heysel Stadium Disaster.

The holier-than-thou accusations, particularly and predictably, from neighbouring countries – especially Scotland – have therefore been ignorant, insulting, and victim-blaming. Special contempt is reserved for a typically crass Twitter ‘joke‘ by the ever-jeering Frankie Boyle; much as I agree with Boyle’s view of Tories and UKIP, his latest swipe-at-victims rests depressingly well alongside his tasteless, bullying penchant for making fun of kids with Downs Syndrome.

(And on the subject of Scotland, I would have thought that if there was one country in western Europe at the moment that would want to keep mouths shut on the subject of football fan misbehaviour, it would be Scotland, given the very ugly scenes after the Scottish Cup Final only three weeks ago; matters got so out-of-hand that the trophy presentation at the end had to be postponed for nearly an hour.

Scotland fans are getting holier-than-thou about English hooligans in France, just three weeks after this happened at Hampden.

Fighting broke out at the end of the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden in May 2016.

As far as I can tell, English fans have not tried any cheap point-scoring over that, and so the cynical opportunism we are now seeing from north of the border leads me to question very deeply which country’s fans really are the better-behaved.)

For those of you who still wish to make England fans into the major villains of the piece, ask yourselves this; if England fans were the attackers, how come so many of the injuries in Marseille have been suffered by England fans? If the England fans were the ones looking for a fight, how come so many Russian fans entered the Stade Veldrome armed with what appeared to be military equipment, including apparent naval flare-guns?

Given that fighting has occurred at other locations in France, involving fans from other countries altogether, including clashes between French fans and Northern Irish, Polish, and Croatian supporters, as well as clashes between German and Ukrainian fans and serious worries about potential Turkish hooliganism, it seems perverse to single out the England fans once again. It is quite possible, indeed, that much of the French-initiated violence is part of the serious political unrest that has been plaguing France for some months now, and not football-related in origin at all.

Anyway, to the account, written by Jim Lee; –

“Don’t Believe Everything You Read” – a note on irresponsible press coverage from Marseille — Having witnessed three separate violent incidents in Marseille this weekend, the press narrative of “England fans clash with police / rival fans / etc” has made frustrating reading.

I was in the square by the port when possibly the biggest “clash” of the weekend occurred. The square was filled with hundreds of English fans drinking and singing. It was boisterous and boozy, but generally well-natured. The type of thing bemused/amused passers-by were stopping to take photos of.

What happened then was a co-ordinated ambush by a couple of hundred Russian “ultras”…

Continue reading at: “Don’t Believe Everything You Read” – a note on irresponsible press coverage from Marseille

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