Russia soccer riot leaves one dead
MOSCOW, Russia -- One man was killed and at least 27 were hurt on Sunday after Russian fans rioted near the Kremlin following their team's 1-0 defeat to Japan in the World Cup finals, the Interfax news agency reported.
Police said the man died from stab wounds as mass brawls erupted on Manezh Square and spilled into other parts of central Moscow, where some 3,000 fans had been watching the Group H game in Japan on a giant outdoor screen. (Match report)
One policeman was stabbed and two were injured, Interfax said, as the authorities sought to restore order. Some of those wounded in the disturbances were taken to hospital.
Angry fans, many of whom police said had been drinking throughout the match, smashed windscreens, overturned cars and hurled missiles at police.
Among those attacked were a group of Japanese music students who had been watching the game.
Thousands of fans had marched 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. Some of them were wrapped in the Russian tricolor.
Plumes of smokes rose from several cars near the national parliament building, the Duma, and from the square in front of the Bolshoi Theatre. The windows of Western shops up to a mile away -- including a Tiffany jewelry store, a Sbarro pizzeria, the Ecco shoe store and the historic Yeliseyevsky grocery store -- were smashed.
Foreign vehicles became a target and AP said that at least seven cars could be seen burning with more than a dozen were overturned.
Cars had their windows smashed as well all 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.
Moscow police chief Vladimir Pronin denied that anybody was killed in the riot, according to the Interfax news agency. He said there were 8,000 fans involved and that police decided not to arrest anybody because of their large number.
Later Interfax 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 riots erupted after Japan scored its goal but before the match had ended. Few police officers were nearby at the time, and they did not arrive in numbers 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 were also beaten. Interfax reported that an ambulance was set on fire and a doctor attacked.
Once police arrived, some of the fans tried to help them detain the instigators of the riots by overpowering the hooligans and leading them to the police.
Aggressive Russian soccer fans, who often sport shaved heads, have in the past gone on rampages in Moscow, but never to such an extent.
Sergei Tsoi, spokesman for Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, said that after Sunday's violence the city would stop showing the matches on big outdoor screens, according to Interfax. It had earlier planned to show all of Russia's World Cup matches.
A top government official said those responsible for the violence would be brought to justice.
The riot was "an insult to the millions of people who supported the Russian team," deputy chief of the Cabinet's staff Alexei Volin told Interfax.
President Vladimir Putin, an avid sports fan, was not in the Kremlin at the time of the disturbances, but was in the second city of St Petersburg ahead of a meeting of Baltic states.
Japan coach Philippe Troussier said his team's historic 1-0 win over a disappointing Russia was fully merited.
Midfielder Junichi Inamoto scored after 51 minutes to send the 66,000 crowd at Yokohama's huge International Stadium into rapture.
The victory lifted Troussier's side -- co-hosts of the tournament -- to the top of group H and kept them on course to reach the second round for the first time.
Japan have four points from two games, one more than Russia. Belgium, who play Tunisia on Monday, have one point, with the north Africans on none.
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