Egypt Soccer Riot Adds Fuel to Egypt’s Insecurity Embers
Egypt Soccer Riot
Al-Masry Soccer Fans Attack Al-Alhy Fans aka Ultras
If you have not heard about the Egypt soccer riot yet, than perhaps it is about time you do. The AP reported it as a narrow stadium exit, but to put it in numbers the average exit in a sports arena can be anywhere from 5 feet to 10 feet wide. Cram hundreds of individuals running for their lives into that space and you get the Egypt soccer riot that occurred Wednesday evening.
As serious as the game of soccer is in the European regions, the match between the Al-Ahly and Al-Masry clubs had a deep-rooted political agenda. The Al-Ahly fans fell victim to the soccer riots, as the Al-Masry fans stormed the field after their team triumphed 3-1. Why the big fuss? Well it turns out the die-hard fans of the Al-Ahly soccer club, the ultras, are known for their extreme disrespect towards the Egyptian military and police forces.
When the Al-Masry swarmed onto the field after the game, the police turned a blind eye to the violence. The Al-Ahly fans retreated down the narrow corridors only to run smack into closed gates and dead ends. Witnesses remarked on the behavior of the Egyptian police, saying that they did not intervene and instead shut off the lights in the stadium, allowing complete darkness to blanket the Egyptian soccer riots.
Al-Ahly fans were helpless as the Al-Masry fans chased them down with knives, sticks and stones according to ABC. 74 people died during the Egypt soccer riot. Did the police turn a blind eye because they hold a grudge against the Al-Alhy ultras? Well it’s a little more than ironic that the Egypt soccer riot fall just a little over a week short of the February 11th anniversary that marks one year since former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.
“Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri, in an emergency parliamentary session, announced he has dissolved the Egyptian Soccer Federation’s board and referred its members for questioning by prosecutors about the violence. He also said the governor of Port Said province and the area’s police chief have resigned.
Several lawmakers said the lapse was intentional, aimed at stoking the country’s insecurity since the Feb. 11 fall of former leader Hosni Mubarak.” (ABC Egypt soccer riot)
Many are blaming the Egyptian military claiming they did not do enough to prevent the riots the night before the soccer match. Even though it is well known in that the game of soccer has perhaps the most outrageous fans, the Egyptian soccer riots proves that there is still a whole other level to the definition of FANS. The diehard, do anything, taking the sport of soccer to an entirely separate playing field fans.
The Egyptian police claim that this demonstrates why safety measures and proper exiting techniques need to be exercised during riots and emergencies. Lawmakers such as Essam el-Erian say the opposite, stating that the tragedy of the Egypt soccer riot is a direct result of intentional reluctance by the military and the police.
In the end the Interior Ministry of Egypt reports that 74 people died, (1 police officer) and 248 injured (14 police officers).
A year ago today Mubarak loyalists took to camels and horseback to attack protestors in the Tahrir Square during the anti-Mubarak uprising. Afterwards the date of February 2nd, 2011 would be known as the “Battle of the Camel”, the most violent day in the 18 days of the anti-Mubarak uprising. Now February 2nd, 2012 a year later the Egypt soccer riot did exactly what they were supposed to, stir up the insecurity of a country struggling to get back up on its feet.