Over 4 million people celebrate chopper-borne world champs in Buenos Aires
Over four million Argentine football fans needed in the end to look up to see helicopters carrying the national team players overfly the Obelisk Square area and other parts of Buenos Aires because the bus could simply not get through the crowd along the highway from the Football Association’s training camp in Ezeiza.
Argentina’s national football team played mystery man Tuesday about where the celebrations with the over 4 million people (roughly 10% of the country’s population) scattered through the main streets of Buenos Aires would be staged. While the idea of not showing up at Casa Rosada to be used for political gain was plausible at first, doing it nowhere specific rendered law enforcement unable to guard boundless territories. In that scenario, chaos ensued.
In addition to Argentine governments being perennially unable to control security matters (to the point that a Libertadores Cup final between two Argentine teams needed to be played in Madrid not so long ago), unruly players calling the shots out of the power of their stardom was too much to handle. Mounted on top of a roofless double-deck bus drinking who knows what and handing out money, one of the players nearly got his head chopped off by a wire.
Pro-government media outlets praised President Alberto Fernández for decreeing a national holiday so that people could peacefully celebrate the football championship.
On the other hand, from former President Mauricio Macri to Argentine Chamber of Commerce President Mario Grinnman they all underlined the consequences stemming from a non-working day. It is a situation of psychopaths, Grinnman said in a radio interview while estimating losses would amount to US$ 1.2 billion.
Police clashed with a group who painted the Obelisk after most people had left. At least 14 people were arrested and 10 police officers and firefighters were injured with stones and bottles. They responded by firing rubber bullets, it was reported.
An ATM was loaded onto a van a few meters from the Obelisk and stores were looted in the not-so-peaceful celebration of a football tournament.
Meanwhile, the players, including team captain Lionel Messi, ended up with severe sunburns for their ride on the upper deck of a roofless bus with no sunscreen on. In the end, the parade around Obelisk square was from helicopters. Nothing much to see, for the people at least.
When compared to other homecoming celebrations of Qatar 2022 teams who were not carrying the trophy, Argentina’s paled in style, to put it mildly.