World Cup Celebrations in Buenos Aires Cut Short as Fans Clash With Riot Police

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
December 21, 2022Americasshare
World Cup Celebrations in Buenos Aires Cut Short as Fans Clash With Riot Police
A riot police officer fires a shotgun as they clear remaining soccer fans who waited for hours for a homecoming parade for the players who won the World Cup at the Obelisk in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec. 20, 2022. (Victor Caivano/AP Photo)

A parade in Buenos Aires that was organized to celebrate the Argentina national soccer team’s FIFA World Cup victory in Qatar ended in chaos after fans clashed with police.

On Tuesday, President Alberto Fernández declared a national holiday to give the country a chance to celebrate the nation’s first World Cup trophy since 1986, which resulted in millions of people pouring into the streets of the capital city.

The parade included an open-air bus carrying Argentina’s triumphant team through Buenos Aires, however, the players were forced to abandon the bus due to security fears after millions of ecstatic fans brought the city to a standstill.

According to video footage circulating on social media, at least two people also jumped onto the open-air bus from a bridge in a chaotic attempt to catch a glimpse of the national team.

One of the individuals landed successfully on top of the open-top bus carrying the players, but another fan fell onto the pavement after bouncing off the back of the bus.

The condition of the person who fell to the ground is unknown but he appears to be okay. In the clip, the injured man continues to celebrate with bandages around his head as the Argentine Federal Police (PFA) carries him away on a stretcher.

The parade was suspended shortly after the incident.

Gabriela Cerruti, a Fernández spokeswoman, said on Twitter that the national team finished the entire route in helicopters after it became impossible to continue by bus due to “the explosion of people’s happiness.”

“Let’s continue to celebrate in peace and show them our love and admiration!” she added.

NTD Photo
The Argentine soccer team that won the World Cup title ride on an open bus during their homecoming parade in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec. 20, 2022. (Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo)

After the team flew over key points of Buenos Aires where fans had gathered, the helicopters returned to the headquarters of the Argentine Football Association outside the capital.

The Buenos Aires Ministry of Health said a 24-year-old man died after falling through a roof during celebrations, sports magazine Diario AS reported. Police told the paper that the man was “jumping on a roof, celebrating the triumph of the National team, until it broke,” which resulted in the fall.

A 5-year-old boy is also reportedly in a coma after sustaining a head injury when a piece of marble fell from a monument and hit him on the head amid the celebrations.

Chaos Ensues as Fans Clash With Riot Police

Although the vast majority of fans continued to celebrate the World Cup win in peace, there were isolated clashes between people and law enforcement toward nightfall when most of the fans had already poured out of downtown Buenos Aires.

NTD Photo
A man walks by police clashing with soccer fans who waited for hours for a homecoming parade for the players who won the World Cup at the Obelisk in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec. 20, 2022. (Gustavo Garello/AP Photo)

According to the risk alert website Crisis24, at least 31 people were injured after civil unrest erupted around the Obelisk monument, an iconic Buenos Aires landmark that is the traditional site of celebrations.

“The unrest has included civilians throwing stones and bottles at riot police, starting fires in the street, and looting businesses,” the website stated. “Riot police responded by firing rubber bullets at the crowd. The area most heavily affected by civil unrest has been the Obelisk.”

The chaos started around 8 p.m. on Tuesday when firefighters went to the Obelisk to evict a few people who had broken their way inside the 235 feet high monument.

A video on Twitter also shows riot police on the scene as they hide behind their shields while “hooligans” hurl stones and objects at them while lighting fires and spraying graffiti.

NTD Photo
Soccer fans wave flags from the Obelisk monument as they wait to see the Argentine soccer team that won the World Cup, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec. 20, 2022. (Gustavo Garello/AP Photo)
NTD Photo
Police clear remaining soccer fans who waited for hours for a homecoming parade for the players who won the World Cup at the Obelisk in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec. 20, 2022. (Gustavo Garello/AP Photo)

The Obelisk itself was also damaged and covered in graffiti at the bottom.

The incidents happened after Argentina beat France on penalties, following a 3–3 draw that some have hailed as one of the greatest World Cup finals of all time, with soccer star Lionel Messi scoring twice.

The World Cup and the success of the Messi-led squad brought much-needed good news for a country stuck for years in economic doldrums and suffering one of the world’s highest inflation rates, with nearly 4-in-10 people living in poverty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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