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Egyptians blame military for deadly soccer riot
Question of the Day
As many Al-Ahly fans crowded into the corridor leading out of the stadium, they were trapped, with the doors at the other end locked.
“Layers of people” were “stuck over each other because there was no other exit,” Mr. Ghaffar tweeted on Thursday. “We were between two choices, either death coming from behind us, or the closed doors.”
Mahmoud Ibrahim, 22, a survivor who on Thursday was at a Cairo morgue where two of his dead friends were taken, said that after the lights went out, people were left “to kill each other.”
He ran into the corridor. “We went down trying to get out, and everyone was pushing. Under me was more than three people, and I am being pushed. Everyone is pushing, trying to breathe,” he said.
Al-Masry fan Mohammed Mosleh, who posted his account on Facebook, said he saw “thugs with weapons” on his side in the stadium, where police presence was meager.
“This was unbelievable,” he said. “We were supposed to be celebrating, not killing people. We defeated Al-Ahly, something I saw twice only in my lifetime. All the people were happy. Nobody expected this.”
Health Ministry official Hisham Sheha said the deaths were caused by stabs by sharp tools, brain hemorrhage and concussions. “All those carried to hospitals were already dead bodies,” Mr. Sheha told stat TV.
TV footage showed Al-Ahly players rushing for their locker room as fistfights broke out among the hundreds of fans swarming onto the field. Some men had to rescue a manager from the losing team as he was being beaten. Riot police stood by, appearing overwhelmed.
The Interior Ministry said 74 people died, including one police officer, and 248 were injured, 14 of them police. A local health official initially said 1,000 people were injured, and it was not clear how severely. Security forces arrested 47 people for involvement in the violence, the statement said.
Essam el-Erian, a Muslim Brotherhood lawmaker, said the military and police were complicit in the violence, accusing them of trying to show that emergency regulations giving security forces wide-ranging powers must be maintained.
“This tragedy is a result of intentional reluctance by the military and the police,” he said.
A number of political parties called on the Egyptian Parliament to pass no-confidence vote against the government of Mr. el-Ganzouri, a Mubarak-era politician appointed by the much-criticized ruling military council.
Osama Yassin, head of Sports Committee in Parliament, said the parliament holds the interior minister, who is in charge of police, responsible for the violence. He demanded ouster of Prosecutor-General Mahmoud Abdel-Meguid to guarantee “transparent investigations.”
The Ultras, meanwhile, accused the military council and former members of Mr. Mubarak’s regime of retaliating against them for their role in the uprising last year against Mr. Mubarak and in anti-military protests since.
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