BOGOTA, Colombia – Diego Armando Maradona’s funeral experienced moments of tension on Thursday when police clashed with hundreds of fans who impatiently tried to enter the “Casa Rosada,” the presidential mansion in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to say goodbye to the soccer legend who died on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack.
Thousands of fans wept as they filled past Maradona’s coffin that was draped in the national flag and soccer shirts. Many fans threw flowers as they shouted “Vamos Diego!” (Come on, Diego!).
On the street, the line to honor Argentina’s most iconic soccer player was more than 20 blocks long.
The main disturbance occurred outside the iconic Avenida 9 de Julio when authorities announced they would not allow more people to pay their respects to Maradona when some fans began to try to climb the fence to enter the presidential palace.
Authorities decided to remove the coffin from the room where the ceremony was being held. Tear gas was used by officers in riot gear who struggled to hold back the crowd. At least 30 people have been arrested and several police officers were injured.
Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez gave his last farewell to the world idol in the morning. The president decreed that there would be three days of national mourning, which began officially on Thursday and will conclude on Saturday Nov. 28. A state funeral is the highest honor an individual can receive in death.
After the wake, the motorized funeral cortege is due to travel to Bella Vista cemetery on the outskirts of the city, where his parents are buried.
Maradona is considered to be one of the best soccer players of all time.
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