BUENOS AIRES – Thousands of fans eager to honor Diego Maradona on Thursday lined up to record the past of Argentina’s most iconic football star’s coffin, some struggling police who tried to maintain order for the country’s presidency .
Some people set bottles and metal fences on police near Casa Rosada in the center of Buenos Aires. At one point the authorities used tear gas to try to control them.
The fan kiss blew as they passed Maradona’s wooden coffin in the main lobby of the presidential building, with a few strike-off fists and shouting, “Come let’s go, Diego.”
The coffin was covered in the Argentine flag and the number 10 shirt he wore for the national team. Dozens of other shirts from various football teams were strewn in and around the coffin by crying visitors.
Maradona died of a heart attack on Wednesday in a house outside Buenos Aires where he recovered from a brain operation on 3 November.
Opening began at 6:15 am local time after a few hours of privacy for family and close friends. First to bid was his daughters and close family members. His former wife Claudia Villafeni came with Maradona’s daughters Dalma and Giannina. Later also came Veronica Ojeda, accompanied by his ex-wife, his son, Dalgito Fernando.
Jana, who Maradona identified as her daughter only a few years ago, also attended the funeral.
Then came former teammates of the 1986 World Cup winners, including Oscar Raggi. Other Argentine footballers, such as Carlos Tevez of Boca Juniors, also showed.
A few hours after Maradona’s death was confirmed, lines began to form outside Casa Rosda and extended to several blocks. Among those who were present was one of Boca Juniors’ famous barbarians fans, one of his former clubs.
The first fan to visit 30-year-old Nahuel de Lima was due to a disability using crutches.
“He made Argentina famous all over the world. The one who talks about Maradona also talks about Argentina, “De Lima told The Associated Press. Diego is the people …. Today shirts, political flags don’t matter. We came to say goodbye to a great who Gave us. So happy. “
Lydia and Estella Villalaba cried after exiting the lobby. Both had Boca Juniors shirts on their shoulders and the Argentine flag.
“We told him that we loved him, that he was the greatest,” he said at the same time.
A huge mural of Maradona’s face was carved on the tiles covering the Plaza de Mayo near Casa Rosada, which was decorated with a giant black ribbon at the entrance.
A giant screen in front of Casa Rosada displayed historical photographs of Maradona to fans, most of whom did not wear masks due to the coronovirus epidemic.