It is "absolutely unacceptable" that dozens of Russian soccer fans were taken into custody for allegedly playing a role in crowd violence during the 2016 UEFA European Championship in France, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday. News agency Agence France-Presse first reported that 43 Russian supporters had been detained after violence in Marseille put a black mark on the opening weekend of the European Championship.
"It was an absolutely unacceptable incident when a bus with more than 40 Russian fans was stopped by police," Lavrov said of the detainment, according to AFP. "They [police] demanded that they get off the bus for document and identification checks."
The clashes came before, during and after a 1-1 draw Saturday between Russia and England. Six England fans were given jail sentences and two-year bans from traveling to France after dozens were injured in the fighting, reported the Independent. The paper reported that some 300 Russian so-called hooligans went to Marseille, outfitted with martial arts gloves and shields, with the expressed intent of attacking English fans before the kickoff.
UEFA has said if Russia's fans cause further problems, the nation's soccer team will be disqualified from the competition. Russia is set to play its next match against Slovakia Wednesday. The match kicks off at 9 a.m. EDT.
France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has previously announced that there was a plan to arrest a group of Russian supporters after footage of the clashes was shared widely on social media.
"As we speak, there is a police operation to arrest some 40 of them that may have taken part in these acts in Marseille so that they can no longer do it in the next games with the violence we have seen. There were photos and videos. They will be stopped," he said, according to the Independent.