Lima Football Stadium Closed Following Violent Death Of Fan

Lima’s Monumental stadium, owned by the Universitario football club, was temporarily closed Monday following the violent death of a 23-year-old soccer fan at the end of a game between Universitario and its classic rival, Alianza Lima, on Saturday.

Walter Oyarce, an industrial engineering student at San Ignacio de Loyola University and supporter of the Alianza Lima club, was thrown about10 meters from box seats by hooligans from the rival team, Universitario.

The supporters of Universitario, known as the “U”, broke into the box in the stadium’s southern area shortly after their team scored a goal to defeat Alianza 2 to 1.

A friend of Oyarce who was in the box said that four or five hooligans broke down the door to the box and came at the Alianza supporters. There were children in the adjoining box and while some of the adults moved them out to safety, Oyarce confronted two of the attackers and was then pushed off the balcony, daily Peru.21 reported the friend saying. Videos show the hooligans violently attacking their victims and using belts and sticks to whip them.  

“The worst of it is that they were calm afterwards and nobody stopped them when they left,” said the friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

Oyarce died en route to the hospital.

The incident has been widely condemned by Peruvian politicians and media. Police and local media reports have identified those who were allegedly involved in the incident, and a television program early Monday said that one of the U hooligans caught a flight to the United States right after the game on Saturday.

Those identified in the videos and seen carrying out the attack were leaders of hooligans and had allegedly already been expelled from the rough Universitario fan club “Trinchera Norte” for previous violent incidents. By buying box seats, they escaped the routine police check  made of the violent fan club groups that occupy the north and south sections of whatever stadium their football clubs may be playing. 

Both Trinchera Norte and the equally rough Alianza Lima club “Comando Sur” have frequently been involved in violent acts during or after games, including vandalism in stadium neighborhoods.  In 2009, a 25-year-old woman, Maria Vargas, died when Trinchera Norte hooligans pushed her off a bus when they were en route to a game at the Universitario stadium in La Molina.

In the game on Saturday, Universitario hooligans began their violence even before the game began, throwing debris and white paint from the top floor of the stadium onto Alianza supporters, and some violent incidents occurred near the box seats. The excuse given by police for not intervening in the early stages was that the boxes are in the private area, not supervised by police.

According to criminal lawyer Mario Amoretti, both the Universitario football club and the police force should be held responsible for Oyarce’s death and the other incidents. 

The head of President Ollanta Humala’s cabinet, Salomon Lerner Ghitis, who is a member of the Alianza Lima club, said the “full force of the law” would be applied to those responsible for this most recent incident.

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