Crowded Marseille soccer celebrations condemned by French minister

FILE PHOTO: French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin delivers a speech on the state of terrorism threat at the French General Directorate for Internal Security (Direction Generale de la Securite Interieure DGSI) in Paris, France August 31, 2020. Stephane de Sakutin/Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) - French interior minister Gerald Darmanin criticised on Monday Olympique Marseille’s (OM) fans for celebrating en masse on the streets of the city after Marseille beat Paris Saint Germain (PSG), given the risks from the COVID-19 virus in France.

“One can only condemn the images that we are seeing,” Darmanin told LCI television, when shown TV footage of hordes of Marseille supporters partying after the win in close proximity to one another, with many not wearing masks.

On Sunday night, Olympique Marseille earned a smash-and-grab 1-0 away win at Ligue 1 champions Paris St Germain, sparking the celebrations on Marseille’s Vieux Port.

Last week, French Prime Minister Jean Castex singled out Marseille and Bordeaux as among the mainland French cities hardest hit by the resurgence of the COVID virus in France.

Marseille’s hospitals have also been put back on a crisis footing as the virus has started to spread again in France, which has the world’s seventh-highest COVID-19 death toll.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Toby Chopra