Paris residents were terrified after several riots broke out Wednesday, causing the PSG players and the mayor’s office to cancel plans to raise their 2013 championship trophy aloft from the City Hall’s balcony.
France’s Interior Minister responded to the public outcry by calling a top-level meeting to discuss what went wrong.
“The day after the riots that sabotaged this great celebration of PSG’s coronation, damaged Paris and deeply hurt Parisians, I would like to express my disgust and anger with regards to the surge of violence that several hundred thugs were responsible for,” Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said. “I ask the Interior Minister to step up the fight against this time type of phenomenon outside of the Parc des Princes stadium. Thugs won’t have the last word in Paris.”
Interior Minsiter Manuel Valls responded by summoning representatives from PSG, the French football league, the police department, the mayor’s office, and anti-hooliganism officials for a meeting later Tuesday.
“I obviously assume my part of responsibility in this fiasco,” French league President Frederic Thiriez said in a statement, referring to the fact that the LFP had given the go-ahead for the presentation to be held at the landmark Trocadero plaza, rather than at the far more secure Parc des Princes stadium this coming Saturday against Brest.
“The party was ruined and could have had dramatic consequences because of a bunch of thugs … who have nothing to do with football but take advantage of it to take part in criminal activities,” Thiriez added. “Paris didn’t deserve this.”
PSG’s moonlit boat-trip along the Seine river on Monday night had also been canceled — but that was the least of the club’s worries.
The celebrations to honor PSG’s first title in 19 years were cut short amid violent scenes that started at the Trocadero, near the Eiffel Tower, as fans fought with riot police. More than 30 people were injured — including three police officers — and 21 were arrested.
The rioting dealt a serious blow to the club’s bid to restore its image following years of fan violence that plagued the club.