The private funeral ceremony of Diego Maradona was held on Thursday afternoon (local time) at the Bella Vista cemetery just outside the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires. That could be seen on images from Argentinian television.
Riots in closing wake, officers use tear gas
Only family members and some friends of the former top football player were present at the ceremony.
Argentine media initially reported that the funeral might be postponed because so many people wanted to say goodbye to Maradona. Nevertheless, the funeral procession set course for the cemetery at the beginning of the evening as planned.
At around 9:45 PM (Dutch time), the coffin containing Maradona’s body was transported from the presidential palace to the cemetery in a suburb of Buenos Aires. His parents are also buried there.
On the way, thousands of people lined up to pay their hero one last tribute. The funeral procession was accompanied by dozens of police motorcycles and security guards, and several roads were closed off to bring Maradona to his final resting place as quickly as possible.
The trip to Jardín de Paz took more than an hour and was broadcast live on several Argentine news channels. Immediately upon arrival, the gates of the cemetery were closed and shielded by dozens of officers.
The funeral procession attracted great interest from passers-by and fans. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Earlier in the day, riots broke out around the vigil in the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, where the football legend was laid out. The police used tear grass and rubber bullets to maintain order. The family of the deceased football player had to be evacuated.
In the palace Argentinians could say goodbye to Maradona from 10 a.m. (Dutch time). After the police announced that the doors of the Casa Rosada would close at 8 p.m. (Dutch time), disturbances broke out in various places in the Argentine capital and officers were pelted with stones.
Because of the disturbances, Maradona’s family agreed to extend the vigil by three hours, but that did not bring peace back to Buenos Aires. Thousands of fans feared not being able to get in on time and tried to reach the palace by various means. The local authorities then ended the vigil, which drew tens of thousands of people in the first hours.
Due to Maradona’s death, the Argentine government declared three days of national mourning on Wednesday. Maradona, who was active as a player from 1976 to 1997, is seen by many as the best footballer of all time.