Warsaw proud of safe carnival mood at Euro opener
WARSAW (Reuters) - Warsaw's mayor on Saturday praised the safe party atmosphere in the city for the opening night of Euro 2012, during which some 140,000 people passed through the fan zone and police reported only a handful of incidents.
"We have three weeks to go of course but we had huge crowds and football fans enjoyed themselves in a carnival atmosphere," Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz told a news conference.
Warsaw's giant fan zone around the striking Palace of Culture and Science accommodates 100,000 fans, and was full on Friday for Poland's 1-1 draw with Greece and Russia's 4-1 victory over the Czech Republic.
Police reported only seven people were taken to a "sobering up" station.
"Warsaw was fantastic yesterday. We should all be proud. We faced a great test and I think we passed it," said Maciej Karczynski, police spokesman.
Police detained four topless activists from Femen, a Ukrainian women's rights group, who took off their tops by the stadium to reveal the words "Fuck Euro 2012" and let off fire extinguishers. They were fined then released.
The feminists complain that the Championship will lead to increased prostitution in host cities.
In Wroclaw stadium, venue of the second Euro 2012 match, four stewards needed hospital treatment after being attacked by Russian fans after the Russia-Czech Republic game, the head of the Polish company in charge of tournament coordination said.
Warsaw will host its next match on Tuesday when Poland play Russia.
Mayor Gronkiewicz-Waltz said she would meet Russia representatives later on Saturday after they requested assistance for a possible march through the city.
Warsaw authorities have said they had no plans to reject any request to stage a march on Tuesday, a national holiday in Russia, despite concerns that it could lead to violence because of tension between the two neighbours.
The relationship between the two countries, already strained by their common history, energy and security disputes, has been further soured by charges from Poland's rightist politicians that Russia was at least indirectly responsible for a plane crash that killed Polish president Lech Kaczynski two years ago.
Russia blamed the pilots for the accident in which all 96 passengers and crew perished on April 10, 2010, in western Russia. Poland said some of the responsibility rested with the ground controllers at the tiny Smolensk airport.
(Editing by Justin Palmer)
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