Riots broke out this Monday night in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital after football fans clashed with police following River Plate’s 3-1 victory over perennial rivals, Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores final which was played in Spain.
The second leg of South America’s biggest club fixture was relocated to Spain over security concerns after the River Plate team bus was attacked en route to the River Plate Stadium in Argentina last month.
The attack forced CONMEBOL, South America’s football governing body to move the final outside of Argentina in order to avoid a repeat of the incidence during which two Boca players were injured and others exposed to tear gas when their own bus was attacked.
Ecstatic football fans had taken to the streets of Buenos Aires to celebrate the result, jumping up and down and lighting flares. This prompted the deployment of around 2,000 police officers around the city to keep a watch on the celebrations.
However, the joy turned violent when some people, suspected to be rival fans started throwing rocks and glass bottles at each other, which resulted in a clash after the police tried to intervene.
Prior to the grudge encounter, Spanish Police had worked with their Argentine counterparts to curtail any troubles, with one of the leaders of Boca’s barra brava (the ‘ultra’ violent fans) deported after he was detected upon his arrival at an airport in Madrid.
Special measures were also put in place around the stadium. Fans without an accreditation or a match ticket were not allowed to access the area while fans of both clubs were allowed inside the stadium unlike what obtains in Argentina.
In Argentina, away fans have been banned from the big matches since 2013, the most violent year in its football history when 14 people lost their lives due to violence in and around stadiums.