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Apr, 14, 2013

Police arrest 29 in post-derby violence

A total of 29 football fans were arrested and three police officers injured after violence erupted following a derby match in Newcastle, England, on Sunday.

Missiles were thrown at police as a group of Newcastle fans tried to confront Sunderland supporters in Central Station after the home side's 3-0 defeat at St. James' Park.

One officer was taken to hospital for treatment, Northumbria Police said.

"The vast majority of fans were well behaved today and enjoyed the Tyne-Wear derby for the great occasion that it is," said Chief superintendent Steve Neill of the Northumbria Police. "Disappointingly, there was some disorder involving what appear to be Newcastle United supporters following the match in the city center, including an incident at Central Station.

"Disruptive behavior of any kind is not tolerated. Inquiries will take place into these incidents and action will be taken against all those involved.

Newcastle has vowed to ban for life fans caught causing trouble after the match.

"The club will take the strongest possible action against those involved in the disturbances and will impose immediate lifetime bans on all those found guilty," Newcastle said in a statement.

Video footage of the violence showed fans picking up empty glass bottles from a trash bin and throwing them toward rows of helmeted police officers.

A burning trash bin could also be seen lying on its side in the road.

"The most serious incident involved a group of Newcastle fans in Central Station attempting to confront Sunderland supporters, but they were intercepted by officers from British Transport Police," a police spokesperson said in a statement.

Police said they received reports of minor incidents, including the release of smoke canisters, before and during the match.

It is believed that Newcastle fans were also involved in a series of sporadic incidents of disorder in the city center following the match, the spokesperson said.

Sunderland fans were transported to the stadium on special Metro and rail services and in coaches organized by their club.

The away supporters were kept inside St. James' Park for around 20 minutes after full time in a pre-arranged holdback before being taken back to Sunderland on coaches or escorted to Central Station by police.

"This was very much a partnership operation and a lot of planning went into what is a large scale policing operation to ensure that genuine fans were able to enjoy the game," Neill said. "Public safety is always our No. 1 priority during any football match. For those who chose to get involved in disruptive behaviour they were either dealt with swiftly by officers or will be subject to retrospective action at a later date."

The violence erupted one day after crowd trouble marred Saturday's FA Cup semifinal at Wembley Stadium in London.

A total of 14 men were arrested after Millwall fans began fighting with each other during the second half of a 2-0 loss to Wigan, in disturbing scenes that left youngsters in tears and were witnessed by millions on television.

Scotland Yard said 12 of those held were Millwall supporters and two Wigan fans.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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