4 buried after clash between Honduran soccer rivals

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Four men killed in a fight between fans of the rival Honduran soccer teams Motagua and Olimpia were buried Monday, as grieving relatives of the victims said the brawl wasn't worth it.

Reina Méndez Rubí, whose son Belis Baquedano Méndez was killed in the Saturday evening clash, urged others not to support the country's soccer clubs.

"I would tell young people not to be a fan of any team. We are going through a very hard time," Méndez said through tears. "I would tell them, 'Don't join the fan clubs, because they are killing you.'"

Known by his nickname "Chapli," Baquedano was a fan of Motagua and had just become a father for the second time. His youngest son is just three months old.

Baquedano's wife, Maryori Flores, said she had called him the day of the game, but he didn't answer.

"I didn't want him to go to that damn match," she said, sobbing.

Die-hard Motagua fans known as the Revolucionarios, or "Revo," also attended Baquedano's funeral in the Villa Nueva neighborhood on the outskirts of the capital of Tegucigalpa.

Wearing Motagua's dark blue shirts, they drank and smoked marijuana and draped the team's scarf over Baquedano's coffin.

"When I die, paint my coffin dark blue, like my heart," they sang.

Supporters of Motagua and Olimpia have engaged in deadly clashes in the past.

Human Rights Commissioner Roberto Herrera reported that between 2016 and 2019, 12 people, including the most recent victims, were killed in Honduras in fights between soccer fans.

The latest violence began when fans of the Olimpia team threw stones and other objects at a bus carrying Motagua players to the National Stadium on Saturday evening, breaking windows and injuring three players.

Emilio Izaguirre, a former player for Scotland's Celtic club, sustained a cut near his eye. Paraguayan Roberto Moreira and Argentine Jonathan Rougier were also injured by glass fragments.

"We were leaving the hotel when about 250 people attacked the bus with bottles in the street," said bus driver Marcos Castellanos.

The National League and police suspended the game, but a fight broke out between fans of the teams at and around the stadium. Fists flew and gunfire was heard before police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Two other victims of Saturday's clash were buried Monday in Tegucigalpa, and one was buried in the province of Comayagua.

The stadium will be closed until further notice.

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