Egyptian Soccer Riot Leaves 25 Dead (Video + Pics)
A riot erupted outside an Egyptian Premier League soccer match on Sunday evening, resulting in a stampede and clashes with police. The Associated Press now reports that 25 people are dead.
This tragedy comes almost exactly three years after the Port Said Stadium riot that killed 74 people.
Ironically, measures taken to prevent such riots in the aftermath of Port Said may have contributed to this latest bout of violence. Egypt’s hardcore soccer fans are highly politicized and distrustful of the state security apparatus, which makes them prone to clashes with police. Thus, domestic league games were banned for a time after the 2012 riots, and when they were allowed to resume no fans were allowed to watch.
Recently, the ban on fans attending league games was lifted. However, attendance is still seriously restricted. For the game between Zamalek and ENPPI at Air Defense Stadium outside Cairo on Sunday, attendance was capped at just 10,000 fans—a third of the stadium’s capacity.
The violence started as Zamalek fans were trying to file into the stadium. According to security officials, many were trying to force their way in without tickets. According to fans, they were packed in too tightly because security officials had only opened one small barbed wire gate to enter the stadium. Then, after some pushing and shoving, police fired tear gas into the crowd, sparking a stampede.
Whatever happened, it’s clear heightened security led to denser crowds and heightened tensions. And eventually, given the history and political undertones to any large gathering of people in Egypt, all hell broke loose.
Have a look:
Next time you go to a game, think about this as you drink your $12 beer. We have it pretty good.
Hat Tip – [Yahoo News]