French opposition slams Champions League chaos
Melenchon blames the cops for the "aggravated" situation during the Liverpool-Real Madrid match.
French socialist opposition leader Jean-Luc Melenchon condemned police behavior at the Champions League final in Paris on Saturday night, saying it reflected poorly on the country. Marine Le Pen, the right-wing opposition leader, also experienced a "feeling of humiliation" as a result of the rioting outside the stadium, albeit her embarrassment was directed at "excesses" among spectators.
The Champions League's final match was held on Saturday at the Stade de France in Paris and ended with Real Madrid crowned as winners, beating Liverpool with a score of 1-0, when Brazilian player Vinicius Junior scored the only goal in the 59th minute of the match.
In a statement, the UEFA said that "in the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands [of] fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles."
According to UEFA, this situation led to a 35-minute delay in the game.
Melenchon described it as “lamentable” and “worrying", saying police should have ensured calm and prevented things from "going badly”, accusing them of "aggravating" the situation.
The force's chronic tendency to "confrontational policing", he said, demonstrated that it was incapable of handling large-scale athletic events such as the Rugby World Cup next year or the Paris Olympics in 2024.
In response to the unrest outside the Stade de France, Le Pen expressed worry in an interview for Le Figaro on Sunday that “all the capitals who watched it found that France was no longer able to organize large demonstrations without them degenerating.”
She blamed the event organizers, saying they would "have to explain" the "disorganization" that allowed throngs of unticketed spectators and fake-ticket holders to assault the arena and a "traditional delinquency which makes every event turn into a riot.”
In a statement, police defended the behaviors by stating that "no incidents" had occurred as the arena was evacuated "calmly".
According to the statement, the police rapidly intervened by moving "troublemakers" away from the entrance following instances of "disturbed access to the stadium," and entering the stadium without paying.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin blamed the incident on "thousands of British ‘supporters’, without tickets, or with false tickets," who tried to force their way into the stadium by assaulting personnel and police.
In their rush to reach their targets, police were seen hitting people at a bar near the Liverpool "fan zone", beating them with batons and toppling bar furniture.
Violente charge policière dans un bar à proximité de la fan zone de Liverpool à Nation, la situation dégénère. Les personnes en terrasse reçoivent des coups de matraques. #Liverpool #LIVRMA #LiverpoolVsRealMadrid pic.twitter.com/Wl0Vu2kMTd— Remy Buisine (@RemyBuisine) May 28, 2022
In a tweet characterizing the encounter as "scandalous", French boxer Estelle Mossely said she was "blocked for more than an hour, gassed and shoved."