French police teargas brawling England fans ahead of Euro 2016

* Trouble flared in Marseille's Vieux Port

* Thousands expected to arrive for England v Russia match

* British police working with local force

PARIS/MARSEILLE: French police fired tear gas to break up clashes between England soccer fans and local people in the Mediterranean city of Marseille on Thursday night on the eve of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament.

A police official said about 100 England fans and 50 residents were involved in the fracas in the streets around the Vieux Port (Old Port) area. Chairs were hurled around and windows smashed before police gained control.

Two fans were arrested and four officers slightly hurt in the clashes, police said.

Early on Friday, hundreds of fans congregating in the bars of the city, with the Queen Victoria pub again the focal point, although the mood was relaxed.

Up to 70,000 England fans and 20,000 Russians are expected to arrive throughout the day and on Saturday ahead of the match between the two countries.

The tournament kicks off on Friday night with France still under a state of emergency after Islamist militants launched simultaneous assaults on entertainment venues in Paris in November, killing 130 people.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandet said Friday night's trouble amounted to a scuffle between fans that did not call security measures into question.

Footage posted on social media showed police forming a ring around dozens of England fans outside an Irish pub. Broken glass lay strewn around.

British police said the scuffles had been quickly contained.

"England supporters had been in Marseille yesterday without issue. At around midnight, there was a short confrontation where a group of approximately 70 local youths approached a pub where England fans had congregated," Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts said.

"This was quickly dealt with by French police and one English supporter was arrested. We are aware of no further incidents overnight."

British police officers would work closely with police in Marseille and would seek banning orders for any England fans causing trouble, he said.

The English Football Association said in a statement: "We are really disappointed by the scenes of disorder in Marseille yesterday evening and condemn such behaviour."

It urged supporters to act in a respectful manner and enjoy the match against Russia.

England fans were involved in serious disorder over several days in Marseille in 1998 before and after a match against Tunisia in the World Cup.

In contrast to the late night violence in Marseille, Paris hosted a music concert near the Eiffel Tower where tens of thousands of revellers danced late into the night.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said nearly 90,000 people attended the festivities "and it all went off beautifully".

Almost 90,000 police and security staff are being deployed at stadiums around the country that will host millions on fans in the coming weeks and at official fan zones where millions more will be able to watch matches on giant TV screens.