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Two Die in Moscow Football Riot - 2002-06-10

Two people have died in Moscow, as a drunken mob went on a rampage after Russia lost to Japan in the World Cup. The violence is the worst in a decade.

The violence occurred in Central Moscow Sunday, just a 100 meters from the Kremlin, as fans watched their national team lose to Japan in a World Cup game.

Thousand of fans had been watching the match on a big screen set up on Manezh Square. The riots erupted when Japan scored its goal, before the match had ended. Japan beat Russia, 1-0.

Altogether, some 100 people were estimated to have been injured in the riot. Several cars were overturned and set on fire and shops were looted. Firefighters and first aid workers came under attack as they tried to put out the fires and treat the injured.

Russian authorities have stopped televising World Cup games on giant outdoor screens. Several thousand spectators had turned out to watch the match in Manezh Square, far more than the 500 police had expected.

Some of the worst incidents took place outside the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, which just last week began considering an anti-skinhead law. Russia has experienced a recent wave of violence against foreigners by far-right gangs.

Alcohol appeared to have played a significant role in the rioting and the violence is expected to renew a debate over beer advertising. Some Russian lawmakers want it banned, fearing it could lead to increased consumption among the country's youth.