Special purpose police in St. Petersburg had to use force against fans of Zenit St. Petersburg who were celebrating after the club clinched their second-straight Russian Premier League champion title on Saturday.
A hard-fought 2-1 win over Dynamo Moscow gave Zenit an unassailable 15-point lead with three games remaining, a victory they achieved despite playing most of the second half with ten men. It is Zenit’s second-straight title and third since 2007.
Russia’s second largest city was celebrating the victory on Saturday night. After the game, thousands of fans came to the city center with team flags, chanting and greeting each other. The Palace Square and the Nevsky Prospekt were most crowded, and many fans say they would stay there until morning.
“A group of fans under the influence of alcohol headed to the city center and clashed with a special purpose police unit at the Nevsky Prospekt,” an R-sport correspondent reported. “The fans provoked the police by smashing bottles near them. Police, in their turn, started beating the fans with batons.”
City police arrested about 20 people for various offenses after Saturday’s match, but said there were no serious public order violations during the game itself.