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Flamengo Copa victory celebration in Rio ends in clashes

Flamengo Celebrates Winning the Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2019 Around Rio de Janeiro

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Gas bombs are thrown at fans of Flamengo by the police during the celebrations the day after Flamengo won the Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores on November 24, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Miguel Schincariol/Getty Images)

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Celebrations of Flamengo’s victory in South America’s top soccer club competition came to an abrupt end in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, when clashes erupted between a group of supporters and police.

Tens of thousands of ecstatic soccer fans wearing their team’s black-and-red jerseys poured into the streets of the city’s historic center in the morning to welcome Flamengo players.

For hours, the flood of supporters, including many families and children, celebrated peacefully, waving flags and setting off fireworks as the Copa Libertadores winners rode through the streets in an open-topped bus.

But around 4.30 p.m. local time, in the final stretch of the festivities, TV images showed thick white smoke coming out of the parade, which quickly dispersed the nearby crowd.

Clashes followed, with a group of supporters throwing rocks, beer bottles and other objects at police. The disturbances later eased.

The team’s victory Saturday over Argentine side River Plate has lifted the spirits of Brazilians after a period of economic stagnation and political infighting.

That’s especially true in Rio, home of the country’s largest club. It hadn’t won the Copa in 38 years, while its Brazilian rivals had won five of the previous 10 competitions.