French police turning on Dermanin after Champions League final
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Thousands of Liverpool FC supporters were caught in distress last weekend as they struggled to get into the Stade de France for the Champions League final against Real Madrid. Police chiefs in France have alleged that there has been a “cover-up” by the French interior ministry tasked with overseeing the event. It comes as the minister accused the LIverpool fans of “posing public order problems” prior to the match.
LBC’s Paris correspondent Peter Allen said: “A lot of police chiefs are turning against the French interior minister Gerald Darmanin. They are calling for his resignation.
“They are saying that there has been a cover-up. That it was absolutely outrageous that thousands of well-behaved Liverpool supporters were being treated in this way.
“And that, I quote: ‘These declarations mark bankruptcy of a ministry that does not know how to manage a sporting event.’
That’s a senior official from the Gendarmerie (French national police force) who has been supported by interior ministry officials who also say they are deeply embarrassed by the way senior ministers have been making these comments about English supporters in public.”
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told the French Senate today that Liverpool supporters did represent a public disorder risk.
It was the latest attempt to defend France’s handling of last weekend’s Champions League final, which was marred by crowd trouble.
He said: “It is clear – all the security services notes say so – that the people of Liverpool pose public order problems. Not all its supporters, but a small part of its supporters.”
Liverpool fans have claimed they were treated in a heavy-handed manner by French police and that the vast majority were not causing trouble. Liverpool Chairman Tom Werner has also demanded an apology from the French sports minister.
Mr Darmanin has insisted that ticket scams and the behaviour of Liverpool fans were to blame for the trouble over the weekend.
But a source at the Interior Ministry told a Parisien news outlet that the fake ticket complaint was ‘”an announcement aimed at trying to cover up”.
A senior gendarmerie officer supported the comments and called for the minister’s resignation.
He said: “These declarations mark the double bankruptcy of a ministry which not only does not know how to manage a sporting event of this magnitude but follows the declarations of a dangerous and uncontrolled Prefect.
“In other countries, it would have been worth the resignation of the Minister and the Prefect. But in France lies are added to police violence to cover it up without this posing a problem.”
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It comes as two French police officers have been put under investigation over improper and disproportionate use of teargas against Liverpool supporters.
Mr Darmanin admitted today there had been “a certain number of inappropriate and disproportionate gestures” by police.
He added that two officers had used teargas in a way that “was against the rules of its use” and that they had been referred to the police watchdog, where he had asked for them to be sanctioned.
But he also said that there was “nothing to hide”, refuting suggestions that this was an orchestrated cover-up.
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