Football riot leaves 74 dead in Egypt

02 February 2012

Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announces three-day mourning

Football supporters from rival teams clashed on 1 February after a match in the city of Port Said located to the north of the Suez Canal.

Fans invaded the pitch after a match between top-tier clubs Port Said’s Al-Masry and Cairo’s Al-Ahly leaving 74 dead and hundreds more injured in the bloodiest incident since former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power in 2011.

The match ended with the home team, Al-Masry, winning 3-1, an unusual result for the Port Said club. According to reports, most of the deaths were caused by concussions, cuts to the head and suffocation from a stampede.

Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has announced three days of national mourning, but critics have be quick to point out the failings of the regime to allow the clashes to occur and conflict to escalate. Protests are planned to voice disapproval of the police’s failure to respond to the situation.

There is a long-standing and bitter rivalry between the two teams and Al-Ahly fans have been involved in clashes in the past. Egyptians have been quick to point out that this level of violence is unusual. Some have pointed to the prominence of Al-Ahly supporters in political marches where police have faced off against the police as a possible motive for the police to attack the supporters.

On its Facebook page, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom & Justice Party stated that it considers the Port Said events as part of a larger landscape of lawlessness, including large-scale robberies and accused those with links to the previous regime as being behind the clashes at the match.

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