‘There were so many families screaming’ – Riot police with batons and shields deployed to FIFA Fan Festival in Doha as one supporter feared ‘a stampede’

    Riot police were deployed to a fan park in central Doha, with one supporter telling talkSPORT that he feared a stampede would result.

    Thousands of supporters were trying to access the FIFA Fan festival in Al Bidda with the the World Cup opener between Qatar and Ecuador on a big-screen TV.

    A number of riot police with batons and shields were deployed as fans tried to make their way into the park

    A number of riot police with batons and shields were deployed as fans tried to make their way into the park

    Riot police could be seen making their way into the fan park in Doha

    Twitter: talkSPORT

    Riot police could be seen making their way into the fan park in Doha

    However many were denied entry, with armed police carrying batons and shields standing guard at the entrances and stopping supporters from accessing the dedicated fan zone.

    With supporters pushing to try and gain access, scenes of joy and celebration turned to anxiety and chaos as fans started to worry for their safety.

    talkSPORT were in attendance at the festival and spoke to one supporter outside who revealed that he could hear families screaming in the chaos.

    The supporter told talkSPORT: “It was very difficult trying to get in and I just came out, luckily, fearing that there would be a stampede or something like that.

    “It was a rush. There is enough space inside the fan zone but we don’t understand why they’re not letting people in.

    “The police say that it’s full, that it’s completely packed which is not true.”

    Qatar’s World Cup opener with Ecuador was shown inside the festival

    Getty

    Qatar’s World Cup opener with Ecuador was shown inside the festival

    Asked if he felt unsafe, the fan said: “Yes. There were so many families screaming due to the rush and everything.

    “This is a fan zone, there’s no need for them [the police] to be so fussy.

    “Being a fan zone, I don’t think they need so much security here, other than at the stadium.

    “They published that there are so many fan zones which people will freely be allowed in, but that’s not what’s happening here.”

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