June 10, 2008 / 2:37 AM / 10 years ago

Back to normality for Berne after Dutch invasion

BERNE (Reuters) - Life for the residents of Berne returned to normal on Tuesday after Monday’s invasion of what police in the Swiss capital estimated were as many as 100,000 Dutch and Italian fans for the Euro 2008 Group C match.

Dutch fans react during the Euro 2008 football match between the Netherlands and Italy at a fan zone in Bern, June 9, 2008. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

The narrow streets of the historic city centre were sticky with beer and strewn with rubbish after the match, which Netherlands won 3-0, but by the next morning they were almost spotless.

Dutch fans react during the Euro 2008 football match between the Netherlands and Italy at a "fan festival" in Bern, June 9, 2008. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

The Dutch had turned the city into a sea of orange on Monday, lighting up the city with music and singing and an impressive array of costumes and headgear.

“It was really quite an event and despite the clear setback for the Italians there were no serious incidents,” Berne Mayor Alexander Tschaeppaet told a news conference, adding that 20 tons of rubbish had been removed overnight.

There were about three times as many Dutch as Italian fans, Tschaeppaet estimated. “I think the Dutch really know how to behave and we must thanks the Italians too for their restraint,” he added.

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Berne hosts two more matches involving Netherlands in the three-week European Championship, which Switzerland is co-hosting with Austria. The Dutch play France on Friday and then Romania next Tuesday.

Berne police commander Stefan Blaettler said Monday’s security operation had been a complete success.

“It’s really quite amazing that for such a huge event there were so few incidents,” he told the news conference. “There were some bag thefts and some minor vandalism but that was really all and it was incredibly peaceful.”

Marcel Bruhlhart, head coordinator for the tournament in Berne, said there was room in the city for perhaps another 30,000-40,000 fans.

“Bad weather is forecast for the Netherlands-France match so it’s hard to guess how many will come,” he told reporters.

Editing by Trevor Huggins

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