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Monday, 10 June, 2002, 03:50 GMT 04:50 UK
Moscow riot prompts World Cup rethink
Burnt-out car in Moscow
The rioters caused widespread damage
Authorities in Moscow are to stop televising World Cup games on giant outdoor screens after thousands of football fans went on the rampage in the city, leaving two dead and many others injured.

The violence happened in the centre of Moscow on Sunday after Russia went down 1-0 to Japan, severely denting the country's chances of progressing to the second round of the tournament.

Moscow rioter
Football violence is a growing problem in Russia
Thousands of fans had been watching the game on an outdoor screen in Manezh Square.

After the final whistle blew, many threw bottles and attacked cars while chanting the popular football slogan Forward Russia, as the violence spilled into other parts of the city centre.

Politicians blamed the events on poor planning by the local authorities.

"Everywhere in the world where fans go on rampages, the police thoroughly prepare for it," said liberal deputy Sergei Mitrokhin.

"But here the organizers of this event were just irresponsible."


A 20-year-old man was found stabbed to death in the square, and a policeman who was seriously injured by rioters died in hospital early on Monday.

Three of the injured are in a serious condition; in all, about 50 people were hospitalised, including 20 police officers.

A number of vehicles were set alight near the lower house of parliament, where windows were broken.

Vladimir Beschastnykh of the Russian football team
The defeat is a major embarrassment for Russia

Crowds rampaged down the street towards to the headquarters of the Russian security services, smashing shop windows and setting fire to cars.

There had been only a small police presence, and reinforcements did not arrive until almost an hour later, when most of the rioters had left the area.

Firefighters arrived first, and the rioters attacked their trucks.

Photographers and cameramen were also reported to have been beaten.

Five music students from Japan who were attending the 12th Tchaikovsky competition were attacked, and one was slightly injured.


The BBC's Jonathan Charles, in Moscow, says such violence is highly unusual for the city.

a car set alight in Moscow
Several cars were set alight

Special forces police were brought into the centre of Moscow to bring the situation under control.

Interfax quoted Moscow police as saying 60 people has been arrested.

The authorities have vowed to track down those responsible for the trouble.

Our correspondent says Russia's football hooligans are a growing problem.

With their distinctive shaved heads, they model themselves on their British counterparts, even down to the wearing of Union Jack T-shirts.

The BBC's Jonathan Charles reports from Moscow
"The authorities vow those responsible for all the trouble will be brought to justice"

What can be done to curb football violence?Crowd control
What can be done to stop football violence?
See also:

10 Jun 02 | Europe
09 Jun 02 | Europe
09 Jun 02 | Japan v Russia
09 Jun 02 | Japan v Russia
01 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
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