PARIS, FRANCE (MAY 13, 2013) (REUTERS) - Crowd violence in the very shadow of the Eiffel Tower on Monday (May 13) marred what was supposed to have been the crowning glory for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) after the Paris club won its first French league title since 1994, as the celebrations collapsed into a maelstrom of fighting and tear gas.
A ceremony due to take place on the esplanade of the Trocadero opposite the Eiffel Tower, in which the team was supposed to have received the championship trophy, was cut short to a couple of minutes for security reasons.
Several thousands of PSG fans crowded into the square and officials struggled to contain the chanting mob. Television news crews were prevented from filming the ceremony as fans leapt onto a podium opposite the stage.
Eyewitnesses said disturbances broke out minutes after the players were ushered off the stage. Police charged into the crowd and were pelted with projectiles. Riot police riposted with tear gas as the crowd chanted and hurled smoke flares.
Running battles between fans and police then erupted in the streets of the plush 16th quarter surrounding the Trocadero neighbourhood as officials struggled to contain the disturbances.
The fighting was a huge embarrassment for the Qatari-owned club, which in the last three years had painstakingly sought to rid itself of its image as a club with a mediocre performance and a large hooliganism to become the number one team inFrance with a raft of high-profile signings including David Beckham.