PARIS (AP) — There were minor clashes between riot police and ultras from soccer club Nice outside a main train station ahead of the French Cup final on Saturday.
Around 450-500 Nice ultras, some wearing balaclavas, were grouped outside Gare de Lyon, where trains arrive in Paris from the southern city of Nice.
The group then started quickly roaming the streets outside Gare de Lyon as ringleaders shouted instructions to move. Dozens of riot police moved to intercept them and prevent possible clashes with Paris Saint-Germain hooligans who had earlier been in the same area.
There was a brief clash with Nice’s ultras and the riot police on the long Avenue Daumesnil at around 3 p.m. The ultras then made their way back into Gare de Lyon and were escorted by riot police toward trains taking them to Stade de France, where Nice was later facing Nantes in the final.
Nice has a longstanding and bitter rivalry with PSG, and their hooligan elements — Nice’s Brigade Sud and PSG’s Kop Boulogne — have clashed heavily in the past.
Although away fans have been banned from attending when they play each other, this rule did not apply to the cup final since it is being held on what is considered neutral ground.
Earlier Saturday, a video showed a group of around 30 PSG hooligans sprinting across the street to attack a smaller group sitting at Aux Cadrans cafe in front of Gare de Lyon. Chairs and bottles were thrown. The opposing group was reportedly from Nancy, which has an affiliation with Nice’s ultras.
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