Hull City fans who taunted and scuffled with police at Hillsborough were denied alcohol at half-time
TROUBLE flared at Hillsborough at the weekend because Hull City fans were denied alcohol at half time after taunting police, it has been claimed.
Tigers supporters were heard chanting "murderers" and "Justice for the 96" at officers policing Saturday's match.
Scuffles broke out on the West Stand concourse at half-time, apparently sparked when officers attempted to arrest a Hull City trouble-maker.
In total, two arrests – one for violent disorder and the other for drunkenness – were made.
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Fans took to Twitter and other social media websites to condemn South Yorkshire Police for what some perceived as "heavy-handed" tactics.
Lifelong Tigers' fan Chris Smith, 63, who was at the game, said: "You could sense the atmosphere in the ground was building. It was pretty tense.
"I saw some scuffles between Hull City fans and the police on the concourse. It was a minority of fans involved."
Mr Smith, of Hornsea, a member of Hull City Official Supporters' Club, suggested fans had been angered by the decision to stop serving alcohol during the half-time break.
He said: "There was a lot of anti-South Yorkshire Police chanting over the Hillsborough disaster."
Mr Smith, who was present at the 1989 disaster, says he understood the anger of some supporters.
He said: "I can understand why they want to show solidarity with their fellow football supporters after the publication of the independent report into the Hillsborough disaster.
"But I did not feel comfortable hearing those kinds of chants.
"I certainly cannot condone violence. There is no place for it."
Mr Smith, who has been attending Hull City matches since the 1950s, said the situation was not helped by a large police presence and the amount of Hull City fans who attended.
"It is thought 2,000 fans made the trip," he said.
"It was as though the police had been expecting trouble.
"They were all in their riot gear.
"In my experience, low-key policing creates a relaxed atmosphere."
One fan tweeted: "Chaos on the concourse, fans and police in genuine fighting, missiles thrown, charging the police back, batons drawn, utter mayhem."
The match, which city won 1-0, was attended by 23,441 people.
South Yorkshire Police said fans were escorted to the railway station and not the tram network, as is usual practice.
A force spokesman said: "South Yorkshire Police officers attempted to arrest an individual in the West Stand concourse during half- time and drew batons when surrounded by a large group of Hull City supporters.
"Batons were drawn for the safety of officers and club stewards in this particular incident, not in response to any chants from the Hull City supporters.
"The individual was later arrested as officers escorted the group of Hull City supporters to the railway station.
"The force is aware of chants from a small number of supporters relating to the Hillsborough disaster but no action was necessary as part of the policing operation."