Everton’s trip to Lille for a Europa League group game gained the team a single point, an arrest and a reported gang beatdown.
A day after a group of traveling fans was attacked by 50 men outside a pub, Everton supporters in France found themselves in a fight with the police.
[ MATCH: Lille 0-0 Everton ]
French police had arrested a man for selling drugs, according to the BBC, and that earned the ire of Everton supporters. In the ensuing display, bottles were thrown one way, with tear gas and a pair of rubber bullets going the other.
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson was not happy.
A statement issued by the French embassy confirmed French riot police fired two rubber bullets and a stun grenade “in self-defence”.
Mr Anderson said he understood the police had “a duty to protect and make sure the residents of Lille are safe and there is no unruly behaviour that causes alarm or distress, but I can’t see that in the pictures I’ve seen”.
“It seems to me if tear gas or pepper spray has been fired into groups that include children then that is a totally disproportionate response.”
Anderson wants details so Everton can properly prepare for a safe return date where Lille supporters are safe on Merseyside. At the very least, there were some very ugly incidents in Lille.
Seems like a mighty jump from one public arrest to such a severe police response — even if supporters were already on edge from the Wednesday gang beating — so there must be more to the story, and we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled.