France ups security for Algeria match

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iol spt pic Algeria fans. AFP Algeria's football fans celebrate in Lille, northern France, after Algeria and Russia's Group H match. File photo: Philippe Huguen

Paris - Authorities in France tightened security and appealed for calm on Monday ahead of a World Cup match between Germany and Algeria following riots after the last two Algerian fixtures.

Algeria's historic qualification for the second round of the football World Cup on Thursday turned violent in some French cities, leading to the arrests of more than 70 people for rioting and looting.

That was more than double the 30-odd arrested on June 22 after Algeria's win over South Korea.

The rioting prompted far-right leader Marine Le Pen to call for dual nationality to be revoked in France on the ground that France's immigration policies had failed.

Algerians make up France's largest immigrant group, with close to two million people, and many hold dual citizenship.

“We are asking everyone to stay calm while celebrating a victory,” said Harlem Desir, the French Secretary of State of European Affairs, on Monday.

“We must not let unruliness spoil what should be a party,” he told LCI private television channel, adding that adequate security measures had been put in place to pre-empt a repetition of the past violence.

Desir slammed Le Pen's comments as an “attempt to play one off against the other,” and said the trouble-makers were a minority and not representative of the community.

“I would like to see that we do not mix up little groups and the majority who conduct themselves in a peaceful manner,” he said.

More than 500 police will be deployed in the eastern city of Lyon ahead of the Algeria-Germany match on Monday evening, the head of security for the region, Albert Doutre, said.

Germany lost their two previous matches against Algeria - 2-1 at the 1982 World Cup and 2-0 in a 1964 friendly. The winner of Monday's game will play France or Nigeria in the quarter-finals in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

Lyon and Marseille have witnessed violence after Algerian World Cup games. Algerian fans also took over a part of Paris's emblematic Champs-Elysees avenue and briefly clashed with police.

Le Pen, the head of France's anti-immigration National Front party, on Sunday said the recent unrest was a good reason to review immigration policies.

“Now we must put a stop to dual nationality,” she told a talkshow broadcast on French television and radio.

“There is not another country in the world that would accept what we go through on our territory,” she said.

Since becoming leader of the National Front in 2011, Le Pen has been trying to clean up the image of the party as a racist and anti-Semitic group.

She led her party to first place in May European elections with 25 percent of the vote in France and the National Front also did better than expected in local polls in March.

Le Pen has spoken out against dual citizenship laws before. In 2010, she called for reform on the grounds that it “undermines” republican values.

French group SOS Racisme said it was “as dangerous as it is concerning” for Le Pen to use a few isolated incidents to support the National Front's agenda.

Former Prime Minister Francois Fillon of the centre-right UMP also said Le Pen's proposal “would change nothing,” adding that it was “not a legal problem.”

“It is a failure of integration policies, and now we have a generation that is not proud to be French,” he said.

Sapa-AFP


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