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Tensions spike in Rio de Janeiro forward of Copa Libertadores soccer ultimate and after Copacabana brawl

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RIO DE JANEIRO — Tensions remained excessive Friday in Rio de Janeiro on the eve of the Copa Libertadores soccer ultimate, following a brawl between fan golf equipment and a fierce police response on the Copacabana seaside the day before today.

The incident marred the thrill forward of the sport between Brazil’s Fluminense and Argentina’s Boca Juniors, due on Saturday at Rio de Janeiro’s famed Maracana stadium.

A mob swept throughout Copacabana seaside, sending tons of of others stampeding away from the commotion, some clutching caipirinhas and hastily-gathered garments.

Conmebol, the continental governing physique of soccer in South America, met Friday with administrators of the Brazilian Soccer Confederation, the Argentine Soccer Affiliation, Fluminense and Boca Juniors to debate safety.

The assembly was known as after Thursday’s brawl on Copacabana that noticed 9 arrested throughout the town’s prosperous southern zone, police mentioned.

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Brazil’s police have drawn criticism for his or her response as photos posted on social media by Argentine’s Diario Olé outlet confirmed one officer pointing his gun at supporters on the seaside and others utilizing batons in opposition to Boca followers.

It wasn’t instantly clear if reside ammunition was concerned however no followers have been reported shot by police.

“Nothing justifies a repression as brutal as that seen in Copacabana, the place there have been even youngsters,” Argentina’s Ambassador to Brazil Daniel Scioli mentioned Thursday night on X, previously often known as Twitter.

“You mistreated us,” learn the Portuguese headline on the Argentine each day’s Diario Olé entrance web page on Friday, plastered throughout what gave the impression to be a screenshot from the video exhibiting police in army gear, pointing their weapons.

Followers of Boca had gathered within the Buenos Aires bar on Copacabana, ingesting and singing all day Thursday, mentioned Facundo Barbero, a 39-year-old Argentine who has been residing in Rio for 5 years and who was among the many followers on the bar.

“Fluminense followers got here to take pictures with the Argentines and the ambiance was relaxed till 19:30 when the police arrived, hitting folks with batons, firing photographs and utilizing tear gasoline,” Barbero mentioned.

Conmebol hopes to keep away from holding the ultimate with out spectators, which might tarnish the picture of the match, Globo information outlet reported.

“It’s important to take excessive precaution,” Conmebol mentioned in a press release after Friday’s assembly and urged followers of Boca Juniors and Fluminense “to share collectively the moments of pleasure and celebration that soccer offers us.”

Rio’s army police will deploy 2,200 officers forward of the match, it mentioned in a video on Instagram. A fan zone has been erected on Copacabana, and there may also be large screens in Cinelandia Sq. within the metropolis middle and within the Sambodrome — famed for the carnival parades.

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