Nov 2, 2023, 18:00 ET
Violence Erupts on Copacabana Beach Ahead of CONMEBOL Libertadores 2023 Final
Two days before the highly anticipated CONMEBOL Libertadores 2023 final, a series of serious incidents unfolded on Copacabana beach. Fluminense fans launched an attack on Boca Juniors fans, resulting in multiple injuries and subsequent arrests.
“We were all Boca fans enjoying the beautiful Copacabana beach, accompanied by our families, hoping for a joyous atmosphere. There were also fans from Flamengo, Corinthians, Palmeiras, and even Fluminense,” revealed a Xeneize supporter who witnessed the events. “At around 5:30 p.m., a group of Fluminense fans suddenly appeared and ambushed us, while the police failed to protect us. It was clear they had no intention of ensuring our safety; instead, they became participants in the chaos,” the supporter told ESPN.com.
“‘Fluminense rules in Rio!’ the fans shouted,” recounted one of the victims of the attack in the Fan Zone. “Numerous fans were beaten, mistreated, and unjustly detained. It was an extremely distressing situation. Many women and children were in tears, terrified. As Boca fans, we never intended to engage in violence; we wanted the Libertadores final to be a celebration. However, we had no choice but to flee,” the victim added.
Seeking refuge in a nearby bar with his family, the victim concluded, “Just as we were leaving peacefully, mounted police officers appeared and continued to suppress us.”
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SportsCenter also gathered the testimony of another fan who described the horrifying ordeal. “A few of us were playing the bass drum and snare drums, and after about 20 minutes, we were sitting comfortably, enjoying some ice cream. Suddenly, a mob of people descended upon us, destroying everything in their path. My cousin’s wallet, containing important cards, was stolen. My legs are swollen, and I felt helpless. Then the police arrived, but instead of defending us, they started firing at us. We were outnumbered, with just a hundred of us against an infernal caravan. It’s an area we love, but we shouldn’t have come. There should be a designated area for Boca fans,” the fan expressed.
Another supporter named Matías shared his account, saying, “They targeted families, stealing their shirts and cell phones. The police suppressed all the bosteros and offered no assistance. We had to defend ourselves.”
The Argentine fans had gathered at post 2 of the popular Rio resort, where the CONMEBOL-established Fan Zone was located. However, the violence persisted into the night. At 9 p.m., the police once again deployed tear gas against Boca supporters on Copacabana beach.
Lucho Silveira, a journalist from ESPN Brazil, provided insight into the usual situation in that area. “The incidents occurred in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro’s most renowned beach. It is a place frequented by criminal gangs who take advantage of the large crowds to commit robberies. This is an ongoing issue throughout the year,” Silveira explained.
The highly anticipated CONMEBOL Libertadores 2023 final between Boca and Fluminense is scheduled for Saturday, November 4, starting at 5:00 p.m. (ARG/URU/CHI/BRA) and 3:00 p.m. (COL/ECU/PER). The match will be broadcasted on ESPN via Star+ exclusively for South America.