Riot police last night descended on London’s West End after thousands of football fans took to the streets following England’s nail-biting defeat against Italy for the Euro 2020 Championship.
Scores of officers wearing riot gear and clutching shields were seen making their way along the streets of central London as large crowds attempted to push into the fan zone in Trafalgar Square without tickets.
However as rain poured across the city, the fans dispersed in the early hours without major incident.
Riot police had arrived in London’s Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square after football supporters were seen clambering onto street lamps and setting off flares in front of hundreds of fans following the nation’s defeat.
The chaotic scenes came after England lost the Euro 2020 final on penalties to Italy, extending the Three Lions’ 55 years of hurt.
As the chaos continued to unfold, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that they had made a total of 45 arrests while policing today’s Euro final.
In a statement they said: ‘We have made 45 arrests while policing today’s Euro2020 final. A number of officers remain on duty, helping fans leaving Wembley or central London. We are there to look out for your safety.’
Earlier police launched an urgent bid to find the ticketless football fans who stormed through the security barriers and entered the Wembley Stadium just moments ahead of England’s nail-biting fight against Italy.
Footage from inside Wembley showed what was reported to be an Italian fan punched to the ground and kicked by English supporters who burst onto the concourse. Other fans at the scene said the victim himself was English and the intruders were lashing out at anyone they could hit.
Amid the confusing scene, rumours swirled on social media that up to 12 people had been stabbed in east London. The Met Police issued a statement denying this, saying there was an incident but no one was injured in it.
The Met Police’s Barking and Dagenham Police team said on Twitter: ‘This information is incorrect. We were called at 6.31pm to reports of a group of people fighting in the area. Officers attended. No injuries were reported.’
Last night hundreds of football fans draped in the England flag stood near the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square as riot police tried to disperse the restless crowds.
Meanwhile others were seen being detained by officers as the scenes in central London descended into chaos.