A clash between supporters of the Argentinian club Boca Juniors and Brazilian club Fluminense, who will play the final of the Copa Libertadores at the Maracana on Saturday, turned into chaos on Thursday in Brazil, requiring the - controversial - intervention of the Rio military police. The latter was strongly criticized in the Argentine press, where supporters said they had been particularly targeted. Tensions began when Fluminense hooligans ambushed Boca fans on Copacabana beach, where a Fan Zone had been set up by the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) and hundreds of Argentine fans were are gathered throughout the week.
In videos shared on social networks, mainly by Boca supporters, the Rio military police intervened by using tear gas, thrown in the direction of the places where they were. In the evening, a new intervention took place, still on the beach. “We were respectful and did not create disorder, but now the police want to expel us from the beach by shooting rubber bullets or throwing gas,” lamented a supporter in a report by the Argentinian channel TyC, while others for their part denounced thefts during the first confrontation. “This is the second time that Fluminense supporters have attacked us, this time it is total chaos, and the worst is the reaction of the police, who repressed us as if we were guilty,” he told the AFP Facundo Diaz, 32, arrived a few days earlier from Buenos Aires. The police, for their part, indicated that two Argentinians had been arrested during the incidents.
Conmebol published a statement on social networks, and rejected “any act of violence and racism that could occur within the framework of this final” which will be contested on Saturday between the Brazilian and Argentinian clubs. Boca is aiming for a seventh victory in 12 finals, while Fluminense wants to win a first title in the competition, after a final lost in 2008.