Mourners, police clash as Maradona laid to rest

Mourners, police clash as Maradona laid to rest

Police and fans clashed on the streets as thousands of people came out to bid an emotional farewell to Argentina football legend Diego Maradona on Thursday.

Viewing was halted shortly before 6 p.m. local time as the family wished and the body of the Argentine icon was taken away for burial, frustrating many who were waiting to pay their respects and causing tensions at the gates of the cemetery.

About two dozen people gathered at Jardín Bella Vista cemetery for a private religious ceremony and the burial. Maradona was buried next to his parents, Dalma and Diego.

Maradona died on Wednesday from a heart attack at his home, despite attempts to revive him, two weeks after he had been released from hospital following brain surgery. He was 60.

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Several vehicles accompanied the car carrying Maradona’s body from the San Fernando hospital to the Casa Rosada’s presidential palace in Buenos Aires.

However, the day was marred by disturbances that broke out at least twice as fans eager to view the casket clashed with security forces in front of presidential palace, interrupting the flow of visitors.

Early in the morning some fans grew impatient as police tried to maintain order, throwing bottles and pieces of metal fencing at police outside the presidential offices in the heart of Buenos Aires. Officers at one point used tear gas to try to control them.

Clashes again broke out in the early afternoon as police fired rubber bullets at fans trying to force their way ahead.

Argentina President Alberto Fernandez, who declared three days of national mourning, had offered the use of the government building to Maradona’s family.

“His unparalleled footballing skill transformed him into one of the best-known people in the world, crossing frontiers and being universally recognised as the world’s best player,” the official mourning decree read.

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