Hundreds arrested, injured as riots mar celebrations

29th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

More than 150 were injured and 134 arrested as celebrations over Barca's victory over Manchester United turned rowdy.

Barcelona – Police arrested 134 people and more than 150 were injured as Barcelona's Champions League victory celebrations descended into riots.

Around 100,000 people spilled onto the streets of the Catalan capital after Barcelona's 2-0 triumph over Manchester United in Rome.

But the carnival atmosphere turned ugly after midnight when youths began clashing with police around Las Ramblas, the city's most famous street.

Youths hurled bottles as they tried to storm through metal barricades keeping a mob back from shops, prompting a surge by baton-wielding riot officers.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to control rioters, who damaged lampposts, telephone kiosks and bus stops, media reports said.

Terrified passersby cowered behind walls as the clashes intensified.

A police statement said 119 arrests were made for public order offences in the city and a total of 134 in the wider Catalan region.

A total of 153 people were injured, said the statement. While most of the injuries were minor, 23 needed hospital treatment.

Spain's TVE public television said one of its cameramen was among those hurt.

The statement said police had issued "repeated warnings" to the rioters.

The celebrations had started peacefully as thousands of joyous fans, many draped in the dark red and blue of their club, let off fireworks and honked horns.

"Yes, yes, yes, the Cup is here," shouted supporters.

"I am so happy, we deserved this victory. We're going to stay out all night as long as the police don't move us on," said one young fan, Jordi, at the Canaletes fountain on the Ramblas, where fans traditionally celebrate.

Many fans mocked rivals Real Madrid, who ended the season trophy-less -- Barca's own fate for the past two seasons until this term under new coach Pep Guardiola.

Several other towns in the Catalan region such as Tarragona, Gerona and Lleida also celebrated.

And in the Spanish capital, Catalans jumped into the fountain in the Plaza Cibeles, the traditional site for celebrations by Real supporters.

Barca fans had already twice gorged on success in recent days after their team won the Spanish title and lifted the Spanish Cup.

AFP / Expatica

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