Celebrations cost the lives of at least 10 people in Colombia following the national team’s 3-0 victory over Greece in its opening game of the 2014 World Cup, national media reported.
It had been 16 years since “Los Cafeteros” last played on soccer’s biggest stage, and while the ensuing festivities were, for the most part, euphoric, things turned violent in some cases.
Nine individuals were killed in the capital of Bogota alone, while another death was reported in Ibague, the capital of the central state of Tolima, reported national newsmagazine Semana. The aftermath of Colombian victory saw widespread fighting and other incidents of disruption across the country.
Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro took to Twitter to describe the violence and assure residents that measures will be put in place ahead of Colombia’s next World Cup game. “The World Cup celebration left 3,000 quarrels, 15 injured and 9 dead. It should not be like this. Tomorrow I will propose a plan for Thursday [when Colombia plays Cote d'Ivoire].”
La celebración del mundial dejó 3.000 riñas, 15 heridos, 9 muertos. Así no es. Mañana consejo para plan del jueves
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) 15. Juni 2014
It is unclear what the influence of Colombia’s election dry law was on the tone of celebrations. Because of Sunday’s presidential elections Sunday, Colombians were not allowed to purchase or publicly consume alcohol after 6PM, five hours after the Greece game had ended.
Colombia, of course has a long history of hooliganism and soccer-related violence. Just last month, the last nationally significant game saw several deaths, as well.
When Medellin-based Atletico Nacional beat Barranquilla’s Atletico Junior 2-1 in the Liga Postobon finals, at least six were killed in the aftermath.
In Barranquilla, five people were reportedly killed, including a minor who received a gunshot wound to the head. Two buses were also pelted with stones by alleged Junior supporters, and over 30 fights broke out, injuring at least 20, reported Caracol Radio.
Meanwhile, a 23-year old man, Cristian Camilo Ramirez, was stabbed to death in a street fight in Medellin, while the “City of Eternal Spring” was hit with over 250 traffic accidents following the soccer match.
The Colombian national team will face Côte d’Ivoire on Thursday. Colombia currently sits on top of Group C in the 2014 World Cup, with Cote d’Ivoire, Japan and Greece following.