Several Indian journalists, among hundreds of international scribes, were caught by surprise when Chilean fans attacked the Press Centre at the Maracana Stadium ahead of the FIFA World Cup clash with defending champions Spain. The fans were apparently angry because they did not get tickets to enter the famous Rio stadium.
Football arouses passion and commotion outside a stadium before a derby game is acceptable. But Wednesday saw an ugly turn of events with Chilean fans invading the usually well-guarded Media Centre. FIFA has condemned the unruly behaviour.
Children, women, and men were among the crowd who broke in, claiming to be angry because they did not get tickets for the high-profile game that Spain finally lost to crash out of the World Cup.
In all of the Brazilian protests and demonstrations this year and at the Confederations Cup last year, this was the first time that media facilities had been attacked. Immediately the security tried to take charge of the situation, but they couldn't contain the unruly Chilean fans.
According to reports, the security managed to get the fans out of the Media Centre, but once outside, the Chileans overpowered the guards. Authorities later said 85 people had been arrested.
Amid the chaos, journalists scrambled to take pictures and shoot video as fans stole tools used by reporters, brought down wall partitions, uprooted work stations, destroyed TVs and shattered glass doors.
"Ahead of the ESP-CHI match at the Maracana, a group of individuals without tickets violently forced entry into the stadium. They broke fences and overran security before being contained by security. They did not make it to the seats.
"The situation was brought under control quickly and at least 85 intruders were detained by the military police of Rio. The organizers of the World Cup condemn these acts of violence. We'll communicate further info and measures to be taken in due course," read a statement from FIFA.