Thirty-eight police officers were injured when they were pelted by smoke bombs, stones, chairs and pieces of metal at Thursday’s Tunisian league match between bitter rivals Esperance of Tunis and Etoile Sportive Sahel.

The match at Rades on the outskirts of Tunis was won by Esperance 3-2, but was twice interrupted by the violence.

Objects were thrown at the police “by supporters of EST (Esperance)”, said an interior ministry spokesman. Nineteen police needed treatment in hospital.

Football in Tunisia is regularly plagued by violence especially when the country’s top clubs clash.

In recent years, violence has escalated so much that sports minister Majdouline Cherni described the outbreaks as “stadium terrorism”.

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