By Benjamin Parkin, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Prior to Chile’s unexpected victory over defending champions Spain on Wednesday, around 100 Chile fans forced their way into the Maracanã press room, leading to 85 arrests. They knocked over a fence and two walls in the process, to the shock of the international reporters inside, moments before the game kicked off at 3PM.
After the break in, the group was trapped inside the room and sat down surrounded by Fifa stewards, before Gepe (Special Group for Policing Stadiums) transported them to Cidade da Polícia (Police City), in Jacarepaguá, Zona Oeste (West Zone), where they arrived at 6PM.
Various journalists live tweeted the event. Ed Malyon, of British The Daily Mirror, wrote that “Chilean fans have invaded and are trashing the place. Walls, TVs going over. An astonishing amount of people are keen to film it.” In response to early suggestions that it was a protest, Miguel Delaney of ESPN tweeted that “It wasn’t a protest. It was fans without tickets, who were already gathering outside gates five hours before kick-off.”
Six other Chilean fans were also arrested for selling over-priced tickets outside the stadium. They were selling five tickets for R$1,600 each – three for Spain vs. Chile, and two for Belgium vs. Algeria, even though the latter game had already happened. In the lead up to the World Cup, numerous fans were arrested for selling tickets above the stated value.
In a shock result, Chile ended up knocking Spain out of the tournament with a 2-0 victory, with goals from Eduardo Vargas and Aránguiz. Spain’s exit, after only two games, is the quickest ever for a defending champion.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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