Polish, Russian fans gather in festive mood for Euro 2012 game, but Warsaw security heightened - InfoNews

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Polish, Russian fans gather in festive mood for Euro 2012 game, but Warsaw security heightened

Russia team players carry the goal during the official training session on the eve of the Euro 2012 soccer championship Group A match between Poland and Russia in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, June 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)
June 12, 2012 - 7:20 AM

WARSAW, Poland - Polish and Russian fans were gathering in a festive mood on the streets of Warsaw before a Euro 2012 match Tuesday in defiance of bitter history between their nations.

Some newspapers heightened the mood with headlines reading "Attack the Muscovites," in Super Express tabloid, and "This is more than a match," in Rzeczpospolita.

Security will be heightened around the time of the night game at Warsaw's National Stadium, officials said.

Police will be in greater presence in the streets and especially vigilant during a march that thousands of Russian fans plan to make from the city centre across the Vistula River to the stadium. They want to inspire their team, but also to mark a national holiday, Russia Day, that marks the 1990 declaration of Russia's independence from the Soviet Union.

But with centuries of hostility between the two nations, to many Poles the sight of Russians marching in a group on their streets would be provocative.

Sports Minister Joanna Mucha appealed to all fans to observe security regulations on this "exceptionally difficult day."

More police will be on the streets and officers will be instructed to check documents of trouble-making fans, Interior Minister Jacek Cichocki said. Police will also check people for explosives and dangerous objects at entrances to the stadium and security measures at the downtown fan zone will also be increased, he said.

Russia was among the nations that divided up and ruled Poland in the 19th century. In 1939, Soviet Union invaded Poland at the start of World War II and controlled it during four decades of the cold war.

Still, many fans said they hoped for a good game and lots of fun.

News from © The Associated Press, 2012
The Associated Press

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