Mexico: Outrage after shooting during football match in Torreón

Global Voices
By Global Voices
August 25th, 2011

The wave of violence that Mexico is experiencing has reached the national sport par excellence. Last Saturday, August 21, 2011, during an official first division football match in the Estadio Corona (TSM), in Torreón, Coahuila, an armed confrontation took place outside the stadium. It led to the cancellation of the game and panic and uncertainty among the supporters, who fled to the field looking for safety.

In an official statement the Government condemned these acts vigorously, and later highlighted that the conflict took place when alleged members of organized crime attacked the local police. According to official sources, nobody died in the confrontation.

These violent events have generated different expressions among the authors of the Mexican blogosphere, many separate opinions and versions about the happenings. The web site Hazme el Chingado Favor [es] showed a report about the event:

“Before the end of the first half of the match some people went to the bathroom (in order to avoid long queues) and some others went to have a beer. 

“Suddenly, people started to hear a great roar. Living in Torreón means being used to hearing every kind of sounds: gun shots, fireworks, etc. I just assumed that those were gun shots. My friend asked me, “Where are the sounds of the gun shots coming from? From the stadium?”. Then, making movements with my head, I told her that the sounds weren’t being produced in the stadium.

“They come from the road”.

“We could hear gun shots inside the football stadium, but the sounds were just echoes, the gun shots were taking place outside. In this moment, I heard a desperate whistle of the referee and all the football players started to run to the changing rooms. I had a look at the whole stadium and saw people from different parts of the place moving in different directions. Then, I thought: – The gun shots are not taking place inside the stadium, because in this case, a concrete group of people should be moving much more than the rest of them.

“As I was used to seeing people fighting, I knew that the fights always start in a point. As many people started to run and some other fell over the floor, I told my friend that we should stay in our places. The sounds seemed to be closer, they could be heard as if they were happening in a place 10 metres far from where we were. They were loud, consecutive. They could even pierce. Every different gun shot represented the fear that confirmed that I was wrong: the gun shots were happening inside the football stadium.”

The website Pateando Piedras [es] described the whole occurrence and referred to the television broadcast of the sportive event:

During the Santos-Morelia first-division football match, in the minute number 40, a shooting took place outside the football stadium. This provoked the cancellation of the match. The open television signal was interrupted. Just ESPN television station and TV Azteca keep on broadcasting details about the occurrence. Apparently, a vehicle did not stop in a halt located outside the stadium and it caused a confrontation with federal force. 

The president of Santos, Alejandro Irarragori and the captain, Oswaldo Sánchez, took the microphone to ask the supporters for calm, announce that the match had been called off and offer an apology to the Morelia team, given the situation that caused the cancellation of the match.

The security team of the stadium did not let anybody go out of the building until the detonation sources and the fact that the danger had already passed were confirmed.

Images of hundreds of people running across the stadium are outrageous.

The following day, Sergio Sánchez [es] for Futbolsapiens wrote about the coverage carried out by international media. At the same time, he gave his opinion about the implications of the event.

It was not exaggerated, the shooting that came into being yesterday outside the football stadium of Torreón, “Territorio Santos Modelo” is having an impact internationally and the main Spanish, Argentinian and Italian newspapers are capturing those deplorable happenings in the Mexican country that give a poor self-image but reflect our real daily life.

In relation to the events, blogger Keor [es] blogged:

It is incredible that after what happened, the federal government says that, regarding the war against drug trafficking, we are going in the right direction and that we are following the appropriate strategy and that all the criticism against it “is a myth” – attention to Alejandro Poire – football, for me and many other supporters, represents an “exhaust valve”, a relief for all the pressure and weekly news, the stress that we live with day after day. The fact that our favourite sport is prey of violence and that those who are frightening the streets of our country are obstructing football are just examples of this cruel and violent fight that has even overcome the Armed Forces of the State. 

I don’t want to live with fear, I don’t want to think that going to the cinema, to the theatre or to the football stadium, as well as doing any other leasure activity nowadays could become a typical stage of the yellow press. I don’t want to be kidnapped by a group of criminals or have to leave my own house. I don’t want to see more people comitting suicide or being decapitated. I don’t want any more violence.

Lulyann [es] confessed being ashamed of the violent events and spoke about her hope that what happened could be an impulse to improve the situation:

What a shame! At least, I hope this could become an incentive to redouble our efforts in Torreon and the entire Comarca Lagunera. The city doesn’t deserve to be abandoned.

Both shame and indignation predominate among the expressions of Mexican citizens regarding the armed confrontation that took place last weekend in Torreón. Furthermore, citizens are puzzled with the official stance that asserts that the federal government is winning the war against organized crime.

By J. Tadeo. Translated from Spanish by Angela Munoz. This article originally appeared in Global Voices.

Categories: General

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