SAINT-ETIENNE: Local authorities in Saint-Etienne are not planning to strengthen security measures ahead of the arrival of England soccer fans this weekend.
Thousands of supporters from England and Slovakia are expected to gather in the former industrial city in east central France on Monday for their team's final Group B match at the European Championship.
The game is regarded as a high-risk match because supporters from both sides have fought each other in the past. At least one group of nationalist hooligans from Slovakia has called upon its members to "chase" England fans when they meet.
Earlier this week, French police used tear gas to disperse English supporters in the northern city of Lille, the fourth time England fans were involved in violent incidents since the start of the month-long tournament.
Police made a total of 36 arrests, but the incidents were by far less serious than the violence in the southern city of Marseille last week involving English and Russian supporters.
Karine Lanaud, the press director at the Loire prefecture, told The Associated Press that local authorities in Saint-Etienne are "not particularly worried" ahead of the game, notably after English fans did not cause major trouble in Lille.
"Our security measures will remain the same and we'll play it by ear," she said.
More than 1,100 police officers will be deployed in the Saint-Etienne area and 51 soldiers will be mobilized to guarantee security. A total of 839 privately-hired security agents are also helping to monitor fans.
Shops and supermarkets in Saint-Etienne have been banned from selling alcohol to fans on match days from 10:00 p.m. until the next morning. In addition, the Saint-Etienne area's top official, Evence Richard, has ordered the closing of all outdoor drinking areas on Monday.
"For security reasons, selling alcohol in public spaces will be banned," Richard said. "And we will ask hotel, restaurant and cafe owners to remove their terraces to make sure chairs and tables won't be used as projectiles if things go wrong."