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France - Algeria

Security tightened in French cities ahead of Algeria world cup match

Algerian soccer fans celebrate, Marseille, 26 June.
Algerian soccer fans celebrate, Marseille, 26 June. Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Security has been tightened in several cities and towns in France ahead of tonight’s world cup match between Algeria and Germany, after rioting by some Algeria fans celebrating the last two wins.

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74 people were arrested on Thursday after Algeria's historic qualification for the second round and around 30 were arrested on June 22 after Algeria's win over South Korea.

The rioting prompted far-right leader Marine Le Pen to call for dual nationality to be revoked in France on the grounds that France's immigration policies had failed.

"Now we must put a stop to dual nationality," she said on French television and radio on Sunday. "There is not another country in the world that would accept what we go through on our territory," she said.

Algerians make up France's largest immigrant group, with close to two million people, and many hold dual citizenship.

Francois Fillon of the conservative UMP party said on RTL radio station that Le Pen's proposal "would change nothing," adding that it was "not a legal problem. …It is a failure of integration policies, and now we have a generation that is not proud to be French," he said.

Former leader of SOS Racism and current Minister for Europe Harlem Désir slammed Marine Le Pen’s comments as "attempt to play one off against the other," and said the trouble-makers were a minority and not representative of the Algerian community in France.

"We are asking everyone to stay calm while celebrating a victory," he told LCI television news channel, adding that adequate security measures had been put in place in a bid to prevent a repetition of the violence.

More than 500 police will be deployed in the eastern city of Lyon ahead of tonight’s match, the head of security for the region, Albert Doutre, said.

Lyon was particularly hard hit on Thursday night with shops looted, several dozen cars set alight and firefighters assaulted, according to the Interior Ministry.

In Paris, many tourists were frightened as some Algerian fans also briefly took over part of the Champs Elysées and clashed with police.

The winner of tonight's game will play France or Nigeria in the quarter-finals in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

 

 

 

 

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