Violence disrupts Argentina World Cup rally
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Violence disrupts Argentina World Cup rally

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Riot police fired tear gas and used water cannons to restrain a group of youth hurling rocks and vandalizing stores at what began as a peaceful rally in Buenos Aires to celebrate Argentina’s gutsy performance in a 1-0 loss to Germany in the World Cup finals.

Parents with young children could be seen running down streets after police, who at first remained on the sidelines, tried to take back the area near the city’s iconic Obelisk after 9 p.m. local time. Police attempted to pursue the vandals on motorcycles, while the youth, many of whom appeared to have been drinking heavily, retaliated by throwing rocks, smashing storefronts, tearing down streetlights and ripping stones out of the streets to throw at officers.

Police said 20 officers were injured and at least 60 people were arrested.

The disturbances came after thousands of Argentines gathered peacefully at the Obelisk with families and neighbors to applaud Argentina’s best World Cup performance in 24 years. The iconic Obelisk, in the center of one of Buenos Aires’ largest thoroughfares, has traditionally been where fans gather to celebrate victory, not defeat. During the beginning of the rally, cars honked staccato rhythms, firecrackers were tossed into the air and fans of all ages jumped in place shouting “Argentina! Argentina! Argentina!” with barely a tear in sight.