Polish thugs have attacked English-speaking football fans as they drank in a pub in the city of Lodz hours before the opening game of Euro 2012.
Around 50 hooligans attacked the fans on Thursday evening.
Eye witnesses said cars pulled up next to the pub driven by masked men who attacked anyone in sight, throwing punches and kicks.
The attackers were described as young men wearing club colours of local team LKS Lodz.
“When they started to hit out, we fled inside,” one victim said. “We barricaded the entrance. “Some of us remained outside, and they got the brunt of the attack.”
Two pubgoers were injured in the attack.
“They forced two younger men to the ground, with multiple attackers starting to punch and kick them,” a local said.
“It was a horrible sight. I fumbled for my phone and called the police.
“They were lying motionless on the pavement. I thought they were dead.
“After a couple of minutes, one of them started to get up, and then the second. I was very relieved.”
Police took more than ten minutes to reach the pub.
The pub owner refused to press charges out of fear for retaliation attacks.
The attack appeared specifically aimed at foreigners.
Before the incident, the visitors were reported talking and chanting in English and Russian.
Earlier this week Polish police warned hooligans that they will face police dogs trained to bite “directly in the testicles” if trouble kicks off.
Poland’s police squads are also ready to use shotguns, handguns with live ammo and water cannon on violent fans.
English language newspaper the Krakow Post issued “10 tips to stay safe and legal in Poland this summer”.
It warned police dogs were trained to “bite you directly in the testicles.”
It continued: “Polish police are going to come down on troublemakers like a bag full of anvils and you don’t want to be there when it happens.
“These lads’ mums and and dads rioted under Soviet machine guns – a few chairs thrown by beered up fans is not going to intimidate them.”
But it tried to reassure potential hooligans that shotgun-fired baton rounds are not designed to kill – “as long as you are 30 metres away”.
The paper added: “Police will also not tolerate public drunkenness, drinking and driving and will demand respect is shown to women and children.”
Lodz is a popular sleepover for fans visiting Euro 2012. Lodgings in the city remained affordable and venues like Warsaw and Poznan are easily reachable from Poland’s third city.
Lodz is also home to a small British expat community. Many Russians are staying in Lodz as it is only 1.5 hours by train to Warsaw. Ireland will play Croatia in Poznan on Sunday, a two hour bus trip.
Polish experts say the culture of random street attacks by hooligans has not been stamped out in the country.
Poland has a poor reputation when it comes to hooliganism. While Polish authorities took all possible precautions in and around the stadiums and the fan zones, the risk for attack outside of those areas remain.
By Agency staff