Egypt: Cops fail to act as 74 die

February 5, 2012

Egyptian citizens have accused the police and military of failing to intervene on February 1 to stop clashes at an Egyptian football match that killed at least 74 people.

Dozens of angry protesters sealed off Tahrir Square, the centre of the uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

Others blocked the street in front of the state TV building in central Cairo ahead of planned marches to the interior ministry to denounce the police force.

Scores of Egyptian football fans were crushed to death on February 1 while others were fatally stabbed or suffocated after being trapped in a long narrow corridor trying to flee rival fans armed with knives, clubs and stones.

The violence ― which followed an Egyptian league match between Al-Masry, the home team in Port Said, and Al-Ahly, based in Cairo and one of Egypt's most popular teams ― erupted when Al-Masry fans stormed the field following a rare 3-1 win against Al-Ahly.

The April 6 group, which was among youth groups that led the anti-Mubarak uprising, said that the ruling junta had a hand in the violence.

A spokeperson asked: "Is it logical that the force that managed to secure parliamentary elections in nine provinces can't secure a football match where skirmishes among fans were expected?"

[Abridged from Morning Star.]

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