Polish police say trouble at a minimum

WARSAW Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:55pm BST

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WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish police have made just 72 arrests since the start of Euro 2012 last Friday, fewer than on an average holiday weekend in the host country, the country's Ministry of Internal Affairs said in a statement on Monday.

The run-up to the tournament, which Poland is co-hosting with Ukraine, was marked by fears over racism and groups of soccer hooligans in both countries. There were violent incidents in the cities of Wroclaw and Poznan over the weekend, mainly involving Croatian and Russian fans.

But the ministry pointed to the relative calm at fan party zones in its major cities - the biggest ever at a European Championship - as evidence that the tournament is going off smoothly.

"Since the start of Euro 2012 in Poland altogether 905,000 fans have taken part in fan zones and stadiums," the ministry said.

"Police have detained 72 people, of which more than half have been under the influence of alcohol. That is decisively less than police normally record on other holiday weekends."

Authorities are also working hard to head off tensions around a march planned by Russian fans to the national stadium in Warsaw ahead of Tuesday's Group A game against the hosts. The game has emerged as one of the tournament's big potential flashpoints.

(Reporting by Patrick Graham, editing by Ed Osmond)

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