Saying they got ‘out of hand’ is a pretty big understatement. Those folks went plain nuts.
The worst violence seemed to come to a head in the hours prior to Tuesday’s match between Russia and Poland (a 1-1 tie). Fans for the two squads were engaged in literal battles—this is all about soccer mind you—using bottles and other weapons along with their fists.
Police did what they could with rubber pellets and tear gas, but it didn’t really deter too many from turning the other cheek throughout the day. The above video does not show what precipitated the violence, but you can see that random people walking by join in for no apparent reason.
Security was unable to gain control, but it appears that the violence was finally stopped by a couple of random fans.
Investigations by FIFA and UEFA, the international and European governing bodies for the popular sport, as well as Polish police are underway.
It appears that the organizers inadvertently created a scenario where violence was likely to occur. Competitions like this always bring about strong national sentiment from fans. This game happened to take place on Russia’s National Independence Day. Russian fans planned a march across an iconic bridge in Warsaw leading to the stadium where the worst of the violence occurred.
The game was only played in Warsaw because of the relatively close proximity compared to other Euro 2012 sites for Russian fans to reach.
European soccer fans are known to contain a population of hooligans in their midst, but at least in this case it appears as if a perfect storm had been created by accident.
(And even more violence!)