Egyptian Protesters Unleash Anger After Soccer Violence
The police in several Egyptian cities on Thursday night battled with thousands of die-hard soccer fans angry at the military-led government’s failure to prevent dozens of deaths at a soccer riot in Port Said the previous night.
Egyptians Unleash Fury Over Soccer Melee
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Moises Saman for The New York Times
Egyptians gathered in Cairo on Thursday to denounce the bloody clashes a day earlier following a soccer game. More Photos »
“The Egyptians will only get out of the current mess through constructive action, rather than seeking to find targets to blame for the past.”
Michael, State College, PA
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In Suez, two protesters were wounded by birdshot and two others by live ammunition, the Health Ministry said, while in Cairo more than 600 were injured by tear gas and stampeding crowds.
The fans, known as ultras, began their demonstration in the capital by directing their fury in part at the Port Said club’s supporters, who attacked a visiting Cairo club, Al Ahly, on Wednesday night. But by the time their march reached the barbed-wire barriers protecting the Interior Ministry, the soccer rivalries were forgotten in a battle against their shared enemy, the police.
Rumors that the police had deliberately abetted the violence at the match on Wednesday circulated through the crowd but were impossible to confirm. Protesters charged that the police had neglected to search fans for weapons, or had opened gates for the Port Said fans while closing them on the Cairo contingent or had turned out the lights to give the home fans cover.
About 70 people were killed in the riot on Wednesday.
Many protesters said they believed that the Interior Ministry meant to retaliate against the Cairo soccer fans because of their leading role in several violent battles with the police at protests over the past three months. At nationally televised games, the ultras have also picked up the habit of chanting for the ouster of the military rulers who took over from President Hosni Mubarak, piercing the walls set up by the generals, who jealously guard their public image.
“The military is taking revenge on us,” said Tarek Adel, 24.