100 fans arrested in Barcelona 'celebration' riots after Champions League victory
More than 100 football fans were arrested in Barcelona overnight as delirious celebrations to mark victory over Manchester United spilled over into rioting that left 85 police officers injured.
As the final whistle was blown in the Champions League final 500 miles away in Rome, around 100,000 Barcelona supporters rushed outside to party – many danced down Las Ramblas gathering around the Canaletas fountain.
Until midnight the Catalans happily toasted a record-breaking domestic season and comfortable defeat of the European champions, but the revelry soured in the early hours of this morning as youths clashed with armed police in the centre of the city.
Officers fired into the air and charged at the crowd with batons and riot shields as they attempted to shore up metal barricades separating the young men from shops and bars.
A total of 153 people were injured, including 68 members of the public one of whom was a cameraman for a local television station. Most of the injuries were minor but 23 needed hospital treatment.
Lamposts, telephone kiosks and bus stops were all badly damaged in the violence, which included pitched battles between thousands of officers and fans.
Police said that 119 arrests were made mainly for public disorder, vandalism and disobeying police orders in Barcelona, while 15 other people were apprehended in the Catalan towns of Lleida, Tarragona, Girona, Granollers and Igualada.
Trouble had also flared at previous celebrations in Barcelona earlier this month after the team won the Copa del Rey and then the Spanish league title.
Last night, some lit flares and set off fireworks to celebrate a victory that meant Barcelona had become the first Spanish team to win the treble of Europe’s top club competition together with the domestic league and cup in a single season.
The celebrations had started peacefully as thousands of joyous fans, many draped in the dark red and blue of their club, let off flares and honked horns.
“Yes, yes, yes, the Cup is here,” shouted supporters. “I am so happy, we deserved this victory. we’re going to stay out all night as long as the police don’t move us on,” said one young fan, Jordi, at the fountain where fans traditionally celebrate.
Many fans mocked rivals Real Madrid, who ended the season without a trophy and in the Spanish capital, Catalans jumped into the fountain in the Plaza Cibeles, the traditional site for celebrations by Real supporters.
The players are due to arrive back at the airport later today where they will be greeted by thousands of supporters. The team is then expected to travel on an open-topped bus in a parade through the city to its Camp Nou stadium.
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