Almost 80 people dead and some 1,000 thousand injured – that was the heavy toll of football violence that has stunned Egypt and put authorities under renewed pressure to tackle the country’s security problems.
The trouble erupted after Port Said team al-Masry beat visitors Al Ahli from Cairo. Fans surged past police officers onto the pitch, attacking Al Ahli players and supporters. As supporters fought each other, panic spread through the crowd. Most of the victims were killed in a stampede to escape the stadium.
News of the trouble sparked a smaller-scale riot at a match in Cairo, but no deaths were reported there.
In Port Said, there was incomprehension and anger among relatives of the victims. The brother of one man who died said: “The security forces are responsible for this. They are entirely responsible because they didn’t prevent fans from invading the pitch. The conscripts of the central security services watched everything but didn’t move a muscle.”
This is the deadliest incident in the country since Egypt’s former President, Hosni Mubarak, was forced from power.