11/26 06:45 CST Thousands lining up to farewell Maradona at Casa Rosada
Thousands lining up to farewell Maradona at Casa Rosada
By ALMUDENA CALATRAVA and DEBORA REY
BUENOS AIRES (AP) --- Impatient fans were confronting police as thousands lined
up to say goodbye to Diego Maradona on Thursday at the Argentine presidential
mansion staging the funeral of one of football's greatest stars.
Fans threw bottles and metal fences at police near the Casa Rosada in the heart
of Buenos Aires.
Open visitation started at 6:15 a.m. local time (0915 GMT) after a few hours of
privacy for family and close friends.
Maradona's wooden casket was in the main lobby of the presidential office,
covered in an Argentine flag and a No. 10 shirt of the national team. Dozens of
other shirts of different soccer teams were thrown in by visitors who passed by
Maradona died on Wednesday of a heart attack in a house outside Buenos Aires
where he recovered from a brain operation on Nov. 3.
The first to bid farewell were his daughters and close family members. Then
came former teammates of the 1986 World Cup-winning squad including Oscar
Ruggeri. Other Argentine footballers, such as Boca Juniors' Carlos Tvez,
showed up, too.
The lines started outside the Casa Rosada only hours after Maradona's death was
confirmed. Among those present were the renowned barrabravas fans of Boca
Juniors, one of his former clubs.
The first fan to visit was Nahuel de Lima, using crutches to move because of a
disability. At the same time, a wave of people tried to get ahead and
confronted police, who used tear gas to contain them.
Bodyguards were stopping fans from taking pictures and controlling access to
the building. Many fans were breaking down as soon as they left.
Fans who walked past the casket blew kisses into the air, struck their chests
with closed fists, and shouted "Let's go Diego." Most, but not all, wore masks
due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A giant black screen in front of the Casa Rosada is showing historic photos of
Maradona as fans go.