Members of BBC’s hit show “Top Gear” crew were forced to flee Argentina Thursday after a crowd began stoning their cars.
The crowd, about 50 Argentinians, believed that the license plate on one of the three cars being used for the show made references to the Falklands War, fought by Argentines troops in 1982. The car, a Porsche, displayed the license plate “H982 FKL.”
“The feeling over Malvinas is still very strong here,” said Oscar Heredia a spokesman for the town of Tolhuin, according to the Associated Press. “The license plate was taken as a provocation.”
The crew was traveling to the Chilean border under police escort when the attack occurred. One minor injury was reported and damage to the vehicles includes broken windows and dents. The crew had to leave their cars behind in an area between Tolhuin and Rio Grande but the vehicles have since been taken into police custody.
BBC has been accused by Argentinians of both choosing the license plate for it’s reference to the war or replacing the license plate to make it’s reference.
The Telegraph, a British newspaper, reported that BBC denied that the license plate was intentional. Issuing a statement through the publication, BBC executive producer Andy Wilman says “Top Gear production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme; to suggest this car was either chosen for it’s number plate, or that an alternative number plate was substituted for the original is completely untrue.”
A protest was held by a group of Argentinian military soldiers outside the hotel where the BBC group was staying.
The Falklands War was a result of the Argentine attempt to reclaim the British-owned islands of Malvinas, known as Falklands in the US, that began on April 2 in 1982 and lasted until mid-June. Although it was brief, Argentina was hit hard by the war. The aftermath of the war left 649 Argentinians dead, with 10,068 wounded and 11,313 captured by British forces. The Argentine Navy also lost 75 aircrafts, a submarine, and a light cruiser.