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Archive for Monday, June 10, 2002

World Cup: Russian rioters wreak havoc after 1-0 loss to Japan; at least one dead, 50 hurt

June 10, 2002

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— Russian soccer fans rampaged near the Kremlin after their team lost to Japan in the World Cup on Sunday, setting fire to cars, smashing store windows and attacking a group of young Japanese musicians. At least one man was killed in the melee.

An Associated Press photographer saw a mutilated corpse lying on the street during the chaos, which erupted across a square from the Kremlin walls and lasted for more than an hour.

At least seven cars could be seen burning and more than a dozen were overturned. Dozens of others had their windows smashed.

Thousands of fans ran through the streets chanting "Forward, Russia!" and other soccer slogans. They broke shop windows, jumped up and down on cars and fought among themselves, throwing empty beer bottles at each other.

Plumes of smokes rose from several cars near the national parliament building, and from the square in front of the Bolshoi Theater. The windows of shops up to a mile away were smashed.

Cars had their windows broken, as well, along the road leading to the headquarters of the Russian security services, the former KGB, as well as in front of the offices of the Russian Presidential Administration.

The Interfax news agency said one man was knifed to death and more than 20 people, including one policeman, were injured in the riots.

A duty officer at the Interior Ministry confirmed that one person was killed and 20 injured. Moscow's chief prosecutor, Mikhail Avtyukhov, told ORT television that authorities found the corpse of a young man believed to have been beaten to death in the riot.

Avtyukhov said about 50 people had been hospitalized, including more than 20 law enforcement officers.

Moscow police chief Vladimir Pronin said there were 8,000 fans involved, according to Interfax. The agency quoted Moscow police spokesman Sergei Shevtsov as saying that about 60 people were detained.

Five music students from Japan who were attending the 12th Tchaikovsky musical competition nearby were attacked by soccer hooligans, a duty officer at the Japanese embassy in Moscow said. One of the students was injured, but his wounds were not considered serious.

The fans, mostly teen-age boys and young men, watched the match on a a big screen set up on Manezh Square next to the Kremlin. Japan won its first World Cup game, 1-0, at Yokohama, Japan.

The riots erupted after Japan scored its goal, but before the match ended. Few police officers were nearby at the time, and they did not arrive until almost an hour later, when most of the aggressive fans had left the area.

Firefighters arrived first, and the rioters attacked their trucks. Photographers and cameramen also were beaten. Interfax reported an ambulance was set on fire and a doctor attacked.

In other matches, Brazil qualified for the second round when Costa Rica tied Turkey, 1-1. Mexico beat Ecuador, 2-1.

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