Egypt suspended all major football games indefinitely

February 10, 2015 6:34 am

has ordered a probe into a stampede and clashes at a Cairo
stadium that left 19 dead, as pressure mounts on authorities over the
country’s latest outbreak of violence.
Egypt suspended all major
games indefinitely after yesterday’s violence, which broke out
when police fired tear gas and birdshot at disruptive fans.
Egypt’s
hard-core football fans have been repeatedly involved in the country’s
explosive political mix and Sunday’s violence showed once again the
willingness of police to use force.
President Abdel Fattah
al-Sisi ordered an investigation “to uncover the root causes” of the
violence, his office said, as fans blamed the police.

Firefighters extinguish a blaze outside a Cairo stadium following an outbreak of violence. Photo / AFP
The radical
supporters of one of the clubs involved in Sunday’s match, Cairo-based
Zamalek SC, accused the authorities of carrying out a “planned
massacre”.

The Ultras White Knights, who have been at the forefront
of previous anti-government protests, said on their Facebook page that
most of the victims had been trapped inside a metal enclosure that was
only set up at the grounds the day before the match.
Others also
pointed fingers at the authorities, including several youth groups who
demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim.
The
violence – reminiscent of clashes that killed more than 70 people after
a football match in Port Said in 2012 – erupted as thousands of fans
tried to force their way into a Cairo stadium to watch a game,
triggering panic as police fired tear gas and birdshot at the crowd.
Health officials said all the victims, mostly youngsters, were crushed in a stampede.
“There are no signs of gunshot or birdshot,” senior health official Khaled al-Khatib said.
“The victims had lots of bruises, while some had broken necks… People were trampling each other.”
At least 25 others were injured, the health ministry said.

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