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Riot police disperse disgruntled Newcastle fans after derby loss
SMOKE grenades and pyrotechnics were set off in Newcastle city centre after the home team lost to Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby this afternoon.
Riot police wearing protective clothing and mounted officers helped disperse crowds demonstrating outside St James’ Park after the 3-0 loss to the visiting Wearsiders.
A smoke grenade had been launched at officers moments earlier, and during the clearance, loud explosions could be heard amid the black and white clad crowd.
Rival fans were kept apart by the heavy police presence around the ground and officers escorted jubilant Black Cats supporters to the waiting coaches and trains at Central Station.
One car held up in traffic by the police road block was surrounded by fans and rocked for a short time, but officers kept their position and those responsible quickly left the scene without further incident.
Hundreds of young people, many not thought to have been at the game, were involved in chanting in opposition to the club’s owner Mike Ashley.
As the red and white colours of Sunderland was spotted, their supporters more upbeat, Newcastle fans turned their anger on them and made their way past the City Walls with a view to confronting the opposition, only to be denied by more lines of officers, who stood batons drawn.
After all Sunderland supporters had left the city there was what police describe as an ‘isolated incident’ in the Bigg Market involving a group of youths throwing bottles, which was ‘swiftly dealt with by officers’.
It is not believed those involved had been at the match.
Northumbria Police has made ten arrests in total; three as part of a planned operation before the match.
Operations Commander Chief Superintendent Steve Neill said: "The vast majority of fans were well behaved today and the Tyne-Wear derby was celebrated for the fantastic sporting event that it is.
"I'd like to praise supporters from both clubs. They worked well with officers on the ground, were extremely patient and good natured and treated the day in the best sprit. The holdback went very smoothly and supporters worked really well with police and stewards.
"Public safety is always our number one priority during any football match. The few people who chose to pose a threat to public safety were dealt with swiftly by police."
Before the game, there was a far more carnival atmosphere and during the build up earlier this week Newcastle and Sunderland supporters’ organisations had urged fans to make the match "a derby to be proud of".
Neither side wanted a repeat of the disorder outside the ground after the fixture last April, which led to over 100 arrests.
Newcastle fan Barry Rogerson, 45, from Bedlington, Northumberland, was jailed for 12 months for punching a police horse during disorder in the aftermath of last April's game, where the result was also 3-0 to Sunderland.
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