Police use tear gas in World Cup stadium tumult
Salvador (Brazil), March 30 (IANS): Police were forced to use tear gas and smoke grenades to break up clashes between fans seeking tickets for the official reopening of Brazil’s Fonte Nova arena to be used at the 2014 World Cup.
Violence erupted among fans Friday, some of whom had been queuing since Thursday night, when ticket booths opened before midday.
Redevelopment work on the 56,500-capacity stadium in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia cost $330 million, more than $50 million over the original budget.
Witnesses blamed the incident on the absence of barriers allowing fans to form orderly queues in front of ticket windows.
Police said some fans suffered light injuries during the clashes but no arrests were made.
Bahia government spokesman Jacques Wagner said an immediate investigation would be launched into the incident.
“We are going to come down with the full force of the law. What happened is unacceptable,” Wagner said.
He said extra police would be summoned to reinforce security for next Friday’s inauguration match between local rivals Bahia and Vitoria.
Fonte Nova will host three fixtures during June’s FIFA Confederations Cup and six World Cup matches.
Meanwhile, a building worker was killed Thursday night in an accident at another World Cup venue in the Amazonian city of Manaus.
Local media reported Raimundo Nonato Lima Costa, 49, died from severe head injuries after falling from a height of about 5m at the Arena da Amazonia.