Demonstrationen geplant gegen die Untätigkeit der Sicherheitskräfte – Marches planned to protest against police inaction at al-Ahly football match, where 74 people died
Marches planned to protest against police inaction at al-Ahly football match, where 74 people died
Riazat Butt and Abdel-Rahman Hussein in Cairo
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 February 2012 09.09 GMT
Al-Ahly football players leave the the pitch as fans clash at the Port Said stadium. Photograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA/Rex Features
Egypt is bracing itself for further unrest following Wednesday night’s violence at a football match in Port Said, with marches planned to protest against the police failure to prevent or contain the fighting that left 74 dead and hundreds injured.
Trouble flared after al-Ahly, one of Egypt’s most successful teams, were beaten 3-1 by al-Masry. Television footage showed players running from the pitch chased by fans.
A small group of riot police tried to protect the players, but appeared to be overwhelmed and unable to stop fans from attacking players. Fans of both teams then clashed, storming the pitch and dressing rooms, and part of the stadium was set on fire.
Most of the hundreds of black-uniformed police with helmets and shields stood in lines and did nothing as people chased each other, some wielding sharp objects and others hurling sticks and rocks. One officer was filmed talking on a mobile phone as people poured on to the field.
One al-Ahly supporter, Khaled Gad, told the Guardian: „What’s upsetting is the huge lapse in security, which I feel is purposeful on the part of the interior ministry and the military.“
An al-Ahly official, Hanan Zeini, told the BBC: „I cannot believe these things happened randomly. I don’t think so, it was arranged.“
Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling military council, ordered helicopters sent to Port Said to ferry injured team members and fans of the visiting side to a military hospital.
In Cairo on Wednesday night fans gathered outside al-Ahly’s ground in the Zamalek neighbourhood as they waited to hear news of family and friends who had attended the match. They were joined by fans of their arch-rivals Zamalek. Chants rang out against the ministry of interior and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
People have been quick to point the finger at the former regime, the police and the army, and claim events were either orchestrated or allowed to escalate. Egyptians are angry that, a year since Hosni Mubarak was driven out, their country is riddled with lawlessness and fighting.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which has emerged as Egypt’s largest party in recent elections, said the violence was a message from supporters of the ousted president and accused the army and police of wanting to silence those demanding an end to the state of emergency in the country.
The country’s football association has ordered an indefinite suspension of top-tier matches and parliament was due to hold a special session on Thursday to discuss the violence.