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Colombian Capital Watches World Cup Dry After Fan Fights

Bogota banned all alcohol sales after gunfights, stabbings and fistfights following the Colombian soccer team’s first appearance in the World Cup in 16 years left at least nine people dead.

The dry law, announced late yesterday, bans alcohol sales for off-site or on-site consumption and will extend until 6 a.m. tomorrow. Colombia scored two second-half goals to defeat Ivory Coast 2-1 in today’s match in Brazil.

“We’re expecting a soccer celebration in peace,” Mayor Gustavo Petro said in message late yesterday on Twitter. “We want the World Cup to have hugs, kisses, smiles and applause, and not to have flour, foam, vuvuzelas and alcohol,” he said in an earlier statement before the dry law was announced. Colombian fans throw flour at each other to celebrate matches.

Petro said there were nine dead and 110 injured in Bogota after Colombia’s first match of the tournament on June 14 against Greece, which the Andean nation won 3-0. Liquor sales stopped at 6 p.m. that day, which was the eve of the presidential runoff.

Bavaria, the biggest beer seller in Colombia, had expected a sales boost from the games. It would be “fantastic” for consumption if Colombia did well in the World Cup, said Grant Harries, president of the SABMiller Plc unit, in a February interview.

“It’s a shame we can’t watch the game with a beer,” said Pedro Escamilla, a soccer fan watching today’s match in Bogota’s central plaza. “Since we haven’t learned how to behave in a civilized way, I hope this can help us learn the hard way.”

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