- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 12, 2012

WARSAW, POLAND (AP) - Russian soccer fans clashed with police and Poland supporters in separate incidents in Warsaw on Tuesday, just hours before the two teams were to meet in a Euro 2012 match.

In what appeared to be the most violent incident, Polish soccer hooligans were seen attacking Russians, who responded violently. Dozens of men kicked and beat each other, while flares could be seen exploding in their midst.

The Associated Press journalists saw several people lying injured and bleeding on the ground, with one of them appearing to be seriously hurt. Poland and Russia fans were also seen fighting and throwing stones outside the stadium.

Smaller fights broke out as Russia fans waving their country’s flag marched to the stadium in a show of patriotism seen as provocative to many Poles. In one case, Russia fans clashed with police on a bridge near the National Stadium and police were later seen making arrests.

In another instance, a group of clearly drunken Polish men began fighting among themselves, hitting and kicking each other. Two on the ground were bleeding and police intervened, throwing two more to the ground. The men were holding cans of beer and mumbling and one appeared to be unconscious.

An AP reporter witnessed the incident and saw police detain three people.

Poland and Russia share a difficult history, including decades of Moscow’s control over Poland during the Cold War. Many Poles felt the Polish authorities should not have allowed the Russians to march as a group in Warsaw given the historical wounds.

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