MOSCOW – Russian soccer fans rampaged near the Kremlin after their team lost to Japan in World Cup play Sunday, torching cars, smashing store windows and attacking young Japanese musicians. At least one man was killed in the melee.
An Associated Press photographer saw a mutilated corpse lying on the street during the chaos, which erupted across a square from the Kremlin walls and lasted more than an hour.
At least seven cars were burning and more than a dozen were overturned. Dozens of others had their windows smashed. Officials said as many as 27 people were hospitalized.
About 8,000 fans, according to police, ran through the streets chanting "Forward, Russia!" and other soccer slogans. They broke shop windows, jumped up and down on cars and threw empty beer bottles at each other. Some were wrapped in the Russian tricolor.
Plumes of smokes rose from several cars near the State Duma, the national parliament building, and from the square fronting the Bolshoi Theater.
Car windows were smashed near the headquarters of the Russian security services — the former KGB — and the offices of the Russian Presidential Administration.
Shop windows a mile away were smashed.
The Interfax news agency said one man was stabbed to death and more than 20 people, including one policeman, were injured.
An Interior Ministry duty officer identifying himself only as Trofimov confirmed the one death and said 20 people were injured. Earlier, another duty officer identifying himself as Rusakov said 27 people were hospitalized.
Moscow police chief Vladimir Pronin said 8,000 fans were involved, Interfax reported. The agency quoted Moscow police spokesman Sergei Shevtsov as saying about 60 people were detained.
Five Japanese music students attending the 12th Tchaikovsky musical competition nearby were attacked by soccer hooligans, a duty officer at the Japanese embassy in Moscow said. One student suffered minor injuries.
The fans — mostly teen-age boys and young men — watched the Russia-Japan match on a big screen television set up on Manezh Square next to the Kremlin. Japan defeated Russia 1-0.
The riots erupted after Japan scored but before the match ended. Few police officers were nearby and they did not arrive until almost an hour later, when most of the tumult had ended.
Rioters attacked arriving fire trucks, photographers and cameramen. Interfax reported that an ambulance was set on fire and a doctor attacked.
Sergei Tsoi, spokesman for Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, said the city would stop showing Russia's World Cup matches on big outdoor screens, Interfax said.