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20 Russians thrown out of France

 MARSEILLE, June 16: Twenty Russians including a far-right agitator were to be thrown out of France today as the city of Lens went into lockdown ahead of England’s next Euro 2016 match.

Amid diplomatic tensions over the case, three Russian supporters will also be tried in Marseille, the first from their country to face justice for their role in violence around the England-Russia match in the city on Saturday.

French police swooped on a group of 43 Russian fans in southern France on Tuesday and carried out identity checks as part of the investigation into the football violence.

Far-right figure Alexander Shprygin, who heads a Russian football supporters’ association, is among the 20 fans from the detained group who will be expelled from France.

“He is among the group,” an investigation source told AFP, while the Russian supporters’ association that Shprygin heads also confirmed he was to be expelled.

The other 20 supporters in the group will be freed.

The arrest of the Russians turned into a diplomatic incident on Wednesday when Moscow summoned France’s ambassador in protest.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the arrests as “absolutely unacceptable”.

Thousands of riot police were on high alert in Lens, the industrial northern city where up to 50,000 supporters gathered as England face British rivals Wales. – AFP

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