Rome police arrest 66 armed Lazio fans

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ROME, Sep 24 (Reuters) Italian police have arrested 66 fans of Rome soccer team Lazio, some of them armed with knives, machetes, clubs and knuckle-dusters, in a major crackdown on football hooligans.

Police told a news conference today that the fans had been stopped on Sunday as they set off for a Serie A match against Atalanta in Bergamo. They were later released from custody pending possible charges.

''We managed to avoid the worst of it,'' said Lamberto Giannini, head of the special police unit that carried out the arrests.

Italian soccer has been beset by crowd trouble in recent years and is still recovering from the death of a police officer at a Serie A game in Catania in February.

Yesterday's derby match between Genoa and Sampdoria was marred by clashes between rivals fans before kick-off.

REUTERS BJR KN1746

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