Spurs supporters attacked in Rome
Dozens of suspected Lazio fans wielding cobblestones, knives and metal rods attacked Tottenham supporters out drinking ahead of their Europa League match, stabbing at least one and sending seven of them to the hospital, police and witnesses said.
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Rome police say they detained some of the 50 hoodlums but others got away early Thursday after trashing ''The Drunken Ship'' pub in Rome's Campo de' Fiori square, a popular drinking spot. Blood stained the cobblestones outside the bar, windows and mirrors were smashed and stools and tables were overturned.
''They penned them in the back and they threw everything at them: cobblestones, metal rods, metal bolts, pieces of belts,'' bar owner Marco Manzi told The Associated Press after returning to survey the damage Thursday morning.
The aggressors were believed to be Lazio fans; they all had their faces covered by motorcycle helmets or scarves. The brawl began sometime after 1 a.m. and was over within 20 minutes, Manzi said. Police said those hospitalized were British men, aged 20-60.
Manzi claimed police were virtually absent from the brawl, though police disputed that. Often a police van or two is stationed just a few meters (yards) from ''The Drunken Ship,'' since fights regularly break out in the piazza frequented at night by American exchange students, tourists and young Italians.
''There was a total absence of law enforcement,'' Manzi said.
He said after the brawl ended inside the pub, the thugs escaped and knifed another victim about 20 meters (yards) away, down a small cobblestone street.
Police said in their statement that their patrol units on duty in Campo de' Fiori alerted headquarters as soon as the fight broke out and that ''all available patrols,'' an ambulance and carabinieri reinforcements were quickly sent.