On May 24, 1964 a riot broke out at a soccer game in Lima, Peru at Estadio Nacional Stadium leaving over 300 dead and 500 wounded.
The soccer game was used as a qualification for the ’64 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Peru scored a goal against the Argentina to tie the game at one a piece in the final minutes of the game. The tie would have awarded both teams with tickets to Tokyo. Celebration turned into chaos instantly when Uruguayan referee, Angel Pazos, blew his whistle and signaled that the goal was no good. The game ended there with Argentina up 1-0.
The crowd started reacting from the stands and a fan jumped onto the field to argue with Pazos. The Afro-Peruvian fan became known as the “Negro Bomba” after getting restrained and helplessly beaten by police officers. When the restless crowd figured out what was happening on the field, all local police were called. Tear gas was thrown into the crowd creating mass hysteria.
Once the tear gas cleared people were able to locate their loved ones who were asphyxiated and trampled. A curfew was used to control looters and prevent fights between civilians and police officers.
It is not unusual for violence to break out with small explosives or for people to end up on the field at soccer games. This was one of the worst because of the death toll and the violence continuing outside the stadium. Violence is never a good way to solve a conflict, even in sports. There are rivalries and fans do get stirred up the events on the field but are not worth 300 lives.
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