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Mexico: Outrage After Shooting During Football Match in Torreón

This post is part of our special coverage Mexico's Drug War.

The wave of violence that Mexico is experiencing has reached the national sport par excellence. Last Saturday, August 21, 2011, during an official first division football match in the Estadio Corona (TSM), in Torreón, Coahuila, an armed confrontation took place outside the stadium. It led to the cancellation of the game and panic and uncertainty among the supporters, who fled to the field looking for safety.

In an official statement the Government condemned these acts vigorously, and later highlighted that the conflict took place when alleged members of organized crime attacked the local police. According to official sources, nobody died in the confrontation.

Some YouTube users, such as Realidadtorreon, 03h2on24s, and jesus1521, shared videos recorded in the football stadium.

These violent events have generated different expressions among the authors of the Mexican blogosphere, many separate opinions and versions about the happenings. The web site Hazme el Chingado Favor [es] showed a report about the event:

Antes de terminar el primer tiempo la gente se comienza a ir para no hacer tanta fila al baño y otros se van para hacer fila para comprar cerveza.

De un momento a otro, se empiezan a escuchar estruendos, vivir en Torreón es vivir acostumbrado a escuchar todo tipo de sonidos, balazos, cohetes, etc… Pero precisamente deduje rápidamente: Son balazos. Mi amiga me comenta:

- “¿En dónde, aquí adentro?” y le digo “no” con el movimiento de mi cabeza.

-Es afuera en la carretera.

Se escuchaban los balazos dentro del estadio, pero era simple eco, los balazos eran afuera. En ese momento escucho al árbitro pitar desesperadamente su silbato y comienzan todos los jugadores a correr rumbo a los vestidores, yo doy una vista a todo el estadio y la gente en las diferentes áreas empiezan a moverse para todos lados y yo pienso: -no es adentro, si así fuera, en un área del estadio habría más movimiento que en las demás. Esto por la costumbre de ver cuando pelean, siempre empieza por un lado. Le digo a mi amiga que nos quedemos en nuestros lugares, mucha gente empieza a correr para cualquier lado y otras a tirarse al suelo. Los estruendos se escuchan más cerca, se escuchan como si fueran a 10 metros, fuertes, consecutivos, lastimosos, cada balazo era el temor de confirmarme que me equivoqué y los balazos si eran adentro del estadio.

Before the end of the first half of the match some people went to the bathroom (in order to avoid long queues) and some others went to have a beer. 

Suddenly, people started to hear a great roar. Living in Torreón means being used to hearing every kind of sounds: gun shots, fireworks, etc. I just assumed that those were gun shots. My friend asked me:

- “Where are the sounds of the gun shots coming from? From the stadium?”. Then, making movements with my head, I told her that the sounds weren't being produced in the stadium.

- “They come from the road”.

We could hear gun shots inside the football stadium, but the sounds were just echoes, the gun shots were taking place outside. In this moment, I heard a desperate whistle of the referee and all the football players started to run to the changing rooms. I had a look at the whole stadium and saw people from different parts of the place moving in different directions. Then, I thought: – The gun shots are not taking place inside the stadium, because in this case, a concrete group of people should be moving much more than the rest of them. As I was used to seeing people fighting, I knew that the fights always start in a point. As many people started to run and some other fell over the floor, I told my friend that we should stay in our places. The sounds seemed to be closer, they could be heard as if they were happening in a place 10 metres far from where we were. They were loud, consecutive. They could even pierce. Every different gun shot represented the fear that confirmed that I was wrong: the gun shots were happening inside the football stadium.

The website Pateando Piedras [es] described the whole occurrence and referred to the television broadcast of the sportive event:

En una escena impresionante en el minuto 40 del partido Santos-Morelia de la Primera División del Fútbol Mexicano se sucita [sic] una balacera en las afueras del estadio provocando la suspensión del partido. La señal es interrumpida de la televisión abierta. TV Azteca, y sólo la emisora ESPN sigue transmitiendo los detalles. Al parecer un vehículo no se detuvo en un retén en las afueras del estadio y provocó un enfrentamiento con fuerza (sic) federales.

Indignantes las imágenes de cientos de personas corriendo por el estadio.

El presidente de Santos Alejandro Irarragori y el capitán Oswaldo Sánchez, tomaron el micrófono para pedir calma a la afición, anunciar que el partido se había suspendido y ofrecer disculpas al equipo de Morelia por la situación que obligó a finalizar el partido antes de tiempo.

El equipo de seguridad del estadio no permitió salir a nadie del inmueble hasta que se confirmó la fuente de las detonaciones y que el peligro había pasado.

During the Santos-Morelia first-division football match, in the minute number 40, a shooting took place outside the football stadium. This provoked the cancellation of the match. The open television signal was interrupted. Just ESPN television station and TV Azteca keep on broadcasting details about the occurrence. Apparently, a vehicle did not stop in a halt located outside the stadium and it caused a confrontation with federal force. 

Images of hundreds of people running across the stadium are outrageous.

The president of Santos, Alejandro Irarragori and the captain, Oswaldo Sánchez, took the microphone to ask the supporters for calm, announce that the match had been called off and offer an apology to the Morelia team, given the situation that caused the cancellation of the match.

The security team of the stadium did not let anybody go out of the building until the detonation sources and the fact that the danger had already passed were confirmed.

The following day, Sergio Sánchez [es] for Futbolsapiens wrote about the coverage carried out by international media. At the same time, he gave his opinion about the implications of the event.

No era para menos, la balacera suscitada ayer a las afueras del estadio en Torreón, “Territorio Santos Modelo”, ha repercutido a nivel internacional y los principales diarios españoles, argentinos e italianos han hecho eco de estos lamentables suscesos [sic] que dejan mal parado a todo un país ciertamente pero que también refleja la realidad que vivimos día con día.

It was not exaggerated, the shooting that came into being yesterday outside the football stadium of Torreón, “Territorio Santos Modelo” is having an impact internationally and the main Spanish, Argentinian and Italian newspapers are capturing those deplorable happenings in the Mexican country that give a poor self-image but reflect our real daily life.

In relation to the events, blogger Keor [es] blogged:

Es increíble que después de lo que vimos el gobierno federal diga que vamos por el buen camino en la guerra contra el narco, que se siga insistiendo que la estrategia es la correcta y que lo que se dice o critica de ella ‘son mitos’ -atención al Señor Alejandro Poire- el fútbol, para muchos aficionados, como yo, representa una válvula de escape, un desahogo de todas las presiones y noticias de la semana, del estrés que vivimos día con día, y el que ahora nuestro deporte sea presa de la violencia y se vea secuestrado por quien tienen aterradas las calles de nuestro país es tan solo un ejemplo de que esta lucha desalmada y violenta a escalado a niveles tales que se han superado a las fuerzas armadas del Estado.

Yo no quiero vivir con miedo, no quiero pensar que ahora ir al cine, al teatro, o al estadio a realizar una actividad lúdica pueda transformarse en una escena propia de la nota roja, no quiero ser secuestrado por el hampa y temer salir de mi casa, no quiero ver mas colgados y descabezados, no quiero más violencia.

It is incredible that after what happened, the federal government says that, regarding the war against drug trafficking, we are going in the right direction and that we are following the appropriate strategy and that all the criticism against it “is a myth” – attention to Alejandro Poire – football, for me and many other supporters, represents an “exhaust valve”, a relief for all the pressure and weekly news, the stress that we live with day after day. The fact that our favourite sport is prey of violence and that those who are frightening the streets of our country are obstructing football are just examples of this cruel and violent fight that has even overcome the Armed Forces of the State. 

I don't want to live with fear, I don't want to think that going to the cinema, to the theatre or to the football stadium, as well as doing any other leasure activity nowadays could become a typical stage of the yellow press. I don't want to be kidnapped by a group of criminals or have to leave my own house. I don't want to see more people comitting suicide or being decapitated. I don't want any more violence.

Lulyann [es] confessed being ashamed of the violent events and spoke about her hope that what happened could be an impulse to improve the situation:

Que verguenza [sic]. Ojalá que sirva cuando menos de acicate para redoblar los esfuerzos en Torreón y en toda la comarca lagunera. Esta ciudad no merece el abandono.

What a shame! At least, I hope this could become an incentive to redouble our efforts in Torreon and the entire Comarca Lagunera. The city doesn't deserve to be abandoned.

Twitter was also used by Mexican Internet users to express themselves about the armed confrontation that took place outside the TSM with the hashtag #Torreón. Raúl Trejo (@ciberfan) talked about how the atmosphere of fear is dominating the nation:

El susto enorme en #Torreón es expresión del miedo que atraviesa por todo el país. No es culpa del futbol ni de los laguneros.

The huge scare in #Torreón is an expression of the fear that every Mexican citizen is feeling. Neither football nor people from La Laguna are guilty of the situation.

Twitter user Raúl Mendoza G. (@Pambollo) took the opportunity to rebuke president Felipe Calderón. In the past, he denied the situation of violence that is affecting the country:

A ver @felipecalderon estoy esperando que salgas y digas que la violencia es un problema de percepción #Torreon.

So @felipecalderon I am waiting for you to come out and say that the violence is a problem of perception #Torreon.

Both shame and indignation predominate among the expressions of Mexican citizens regarding the armed confrontation that took place last weekend in Torreón. Furthermore, citizens are puzzled with the official stance that asserts that the federal government is winning the war against organized crime.

This post is part of our special coverage Mexico's Drug War.

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