Egyptian calls for responsibility over football killings

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Egyptian calls for responsibility over football killings

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Those in charge in Egypt say the events in the Port Said stadium were a case of fan rivalry taken to extremes. Others have been saying this was organised or condoned killing. There is strong disagreement over how or why scores of people died here after a match on Wednesday.

Demonstrators have been clashing with police in various cities since then. The protesters say the authorities have blood on their hands through their inaction if nothing else.

Most of those killed were supporters of the Cairo team al-Ahly, the so-called ‘Ultras’ who opposed the police during last year’s revolution.

An Al Ahly supporter said: “I blame the police for what happened. Usually we get searched before entering the stadium. This time, nobody searched us.”

In the opinion of another al-Ahly supporter: “The events (attacks on Al Ahly fans) were planned. How come the al-Masry fans ruined the game while they were winning in the first place? That doesn’t make any sense.”

Al-Masry, the Port Said team, had won the match, 3-1. Al-Ahly fans feel certain the attack on them was premeditated or abetted by the police.

Mohamed Abdel Aziz, one of the 1,000 who were injured last Wednesday, said: “They were pushing us off the high seated section at the top of the stadium and those who fell died and no one working for security tried to stop them. I was struck by a knife twice in my hand and head.’‘

The deaths come just as Egyptians mark one year since the revolution that removed longtime president Hosni Mubarak but which left much of the old military and police power structure behind.

Independent MP Moustafa Bakry called for a “revolutionary court” to pursue justice.

Bakry said: “The real intention behind it is the fall of the Egyptian state. These events are planned and not a mere coincidence. These are the plans of certain groups, both from the old regime and foreigners.”

The army is wary of organised dissent, and al-Ahly has 50 million supporters. One of the ‘Ultras’ strongest acts in 2011 was to successfully hold their own against mounted pro-Mubarak supporters trying to break up pro-democracy crowds. Now the Ultras are demanding that Egypt’s rulers be called to account for the latest bloodshed.