BUENOS AIRES (AP) — At least one person died amid the clashes between fans and police that forced the suspension of the Argentine league match between Gimnasia y Esgrima and Boca Juniors, and that evoked fresh and chilling memories of the tragedy that occurred. less than a week ago in a stadium in Indonesia.
9 minutes had elapsed of the match of the 23rd day, when the referee Hernán Mastrángelo decided to suspend it. The reason was the lack of guarantees, the Professional Football League reported on Twitter.
According to authorities and witnesses, fans of Gimnasia, the local team, struggled to enter an already packed stadium. Police in the province of Buenos Aires used rubber bullets and tear gas in an attempt to force the crowd to retreat.
In the building there were only local fans, since the presence of visiting fans has not been authorized in Buenos Aires since 2013, amid the frequent acts of violence related to soccer.
“Unfortunately there is a dead person. He dies of a heart problem, “said Sergio Berni, Minister of Security of the province of Buenos Aires, in statements to the Todo Noticias network. “They tried to revive him in the ambulance, but unfortunately he passed away.”
The deceased was identified by Berni as César Regueiro, 57, who was taken to the nearby San Martín hospital in an unsuccessful attempt to save his life.
Less than a week after the use of tear gas unleashed a stampede that left 131 dead in Indonesian soccer, some scenes that recalled that tragedy were presented at the Juan Carmelo Zerillo stadium in La Plata, with many spectators who invaded the field .
“The @afa strongly repudiates the publicly known events that occurred today in the vicinity of the @gimnasiaoficial stadium and expresses its commitment to continue working to eradicate this kind of episodes that tarnish the football festival,” the Football Association reported in a tweet. Argentine, who did not immediately announce a new date for the meeting.
Different fans denounced that there was overselling of tickets due to the expectation generated by the meeting between two teams fighting for the title. This would have resulted in many who had their tickets staying outside and trying to enter amidst signs of indignation.
A cloud of tear gas was already spreading across the pitch when Mastrangelo interrupted the match. The players retired to the changing rooms, where they remained locked up.
The clashes continued outside the building. The increasing accumulation of gases in an area surrounded by trees caused many people to enter the field of play to escape their irritating effect.
The TyC Sports outlet stated that one of its cameramen was injured by the impact of the rubber bullets.
“They threw gases like crazy. Here you couldn’t breathe in the Forest. A lot of people are upset,” said the injured cameraman, Fernando Rivero, interviewed by TyC himself.
In its security protocols, FIFA advises against the use of tear gas in stadiums or in their surroundings, in order to avoid risky situations such as the one that occurred on Saturday in the city of Malanga in East Java, where the throng of fans fleeing combined with the closing of the stadium gates to cause numerous people to be crushed to death.
It was possible to see many spectators, including women and children, who were crying and rubbing their faces, visibly affected by the gases. Players and members of the technical bodies of the clubs had thrown water in their eyes with the intention of relieving themselves, before leaving the field.
AP journalist Débora Rey contributed to this report.