One dead in riots at soccer game in Argentina: official

One person died Thursday in violent clashes between Boca Juniors and Gimnasia y Esgrima near a soccer game outside Buenos Aires, authorities said.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas in front of the Carmelo Zerillo stadium in La Plata, some 50 kilometers south of the Argentine capital, as they tried to stop fans from rushing into the already crowded venue.

The riots continued inside, where shocked onlookers were seen squeezing through fences to escape the violence and get onto the field.

“I can confirm that one person is dead. That person died of cardiac arrest,” said Sergio Berni, security minister of the province of Buenos Aires, where the Argentinean Premier League game was being played.

The game was halted until further notice after nine minutes “due to a lack of (safety) guarantees,” said referee Hernan Mastrangelo, minutes after the players and technical staff left the pitch for the dressing rooms.

“It affected us all on the field,” he added. “The air became unbreathable. The situation spiraled out of control and there were no safety guarantees.”

Authorities at the San Martin Hospital in La Plata have confirmed the death of a 57-year-old man from cardiac arrest while being transferred from the stadium to the hospital.

Several fans, including children, being led or carried by adults, rushed from the stands onto the pitch, where people were seen seated or reclining who appeared to be recovering from the tear gas exposure.

The game came at a critical juncture in Argentina’s top flight, with four rounds to go, Gimnasia took their last chance to secure the title at home while Boca hoped for a win to return to the top flight.

“What was supposed to be a party ends here. It hurts us all what happened, it’s huge and we regret it,” Boca Juniors manager Hugo Ibarra told reporters.

The deadly violence came five days after a stampede in Indonesia sparked by police firing tear gas at a crowded stadium that left at least 131 people dead, including 32 children.