Hundreds of Chelsea football fans went on the rampage in central Paris on Wednesday night, smashing up cafes and shops.
Some 400 thugs could be seen making ‘Sieg Heil’ salutes and chanting racist abuse before they started attacking Paris Saint-Germain supporters in the hours before the two sides’ Champions League quarter-final clash.
The worst of the violence was in Rue St Denis, a popular tourist street full of pubs and bars, with flares let off that quickly filled the packed area with thick black smoke.
‘It’s terrifying — I just want to get out of here,’ said Sarah Avel, a 16-year-old student. ‘We could hear the chanting all afternoon but we didn’t expect fighting.’
The fans had been drinking for most of the afternoon outside the Frog and Rosbif pub before they moved across the road to The Thistle.
The fighting started there as some of the fans could be heard chanting English Defence League songs in front of black Parisians.
Riot police were quickly mobilised but a group of around 100 fans then rushed down Rue St Denis, smashing anything in their path.
Chelsea had 2,000 tickets for the game but thousands of their fans travelled to Paris without tickets.
Earlier in the day, there were police intelligence reports that 300 hardcore Chelsea hooligans had entered France via Belgium to avoid detection.