is egypt a failed state
Riots after a football match in Egypt's Port Said have left 73 people dead and at least 1000 injured, in what a deputy minister called the biggest disaster in the nation's football history.
Violence at football matches across north Africa has increased significantly since political unrest began sweeping the region more than a year ago, and one player described Wednesday's riot as "a war, not football".
Angry politicians and sports officials decried a lack of security at the match between Port Said team Al-Masry and Al-Ahly, one of Egypt's most successful clubs, and blamed the nation's leaders for allowing - or even causing - the tragedy.
Wednesday's trouble flared at the end of a match when Al-Masry beat Al-Ahly 3-1.
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Riot ... scores are dead after fighting broke out following the match between Al-Ahly and Al-Masri. Photo: AFP
"This is unfortunate and deeply saddening. It is the biggest disaster in Egypt's soccer history," Deputy Health Minister Hesham Sheiha told state television.
Witnesses said trouble broke out when Al-Ahly fans unfurled banners insulting Port Said and an Al-Ahly supporter descended onto the pitch carrying an iron bar. Al-Masry fans reacted by pouring onto the pitch and attacking Al-Ahly players. They then turned to the terraces to attack Al-Ahly supporters.
Pitch inavison ... fans ran on the field after the final whistle. Photo: AFP
Most of the deaths were among people who were trampled in the crush of the panicking crowd or who fell from terraces, witnesses said.
Live television coverage showed fans running onto the field and chasing Al-Ahly players. A small group of riot police formed a corridor to try to protect the players, but they appeared overwhelmed and fans were still able to kick and punch the players as they fled.
Sources in Cairo said players and some fans were believed to be trapped inside parts of the stadium, with reports the perpetrators of the violence had them surrounded.
Danger ... the players run for cover. Photo: AFP
"We have heard they are preventing ambulances [from entering]", a Sky News reporter in Cairo said, noting Egyptian football fans were "known for their fanaticism".
"[But] why this has happened no one can explain or understand."
'This is not football. This is a war'
Doctors in four hospitals said the death toll had reached 73, as ambulances continued to ferry in the injured from the stadium.
Some of the deaths were the result of stab wounds, the doctors said.
"This is not football. This is a war and people are dying in front of us. There is no movement and no security and no ambulances," Al-Ahly player Mohamed Abo Treika told his club's television channel.
"I call for the premier league to be cancelled. This is horrible situation and today can never be forgotten."
State television reported that Egypt's football federation had indefinitely suspended premier league matches.
Egypt's Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the country's ruling military council, ordered two helicopters be sent to Port Said, the scene of violent football clashes, to fly out some of the visiting Al-Ahly football team and its fans, military sources said.
The helicopters would transfer the injured to military hospitals, the sources said.
A number of policemen were among the dead, a medical source and witnesses said.
Hospitals throughout the Suez Canal zone were put on a state of emergency, and dozens of ambulances rushed to Port Said from the Canal cities of Ismailia and Suez, said an official in the zone's local ambulance service.
Forty-seven people have been arrested, the country's interior minister said.
Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said many of the victims had died in the crush of people at the stadium in the city of Port Said. Ibrahim told state television the search for suspects linked to the incident was continuing.
'Mubarak supporters to blame'
Albadry Farghali, a member of parliament for Port Said, accused officials and security forces of allowing the disaster, saying they still had ties to the government of President Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown a year ago.
"The security forces did this or allowed it to happen. The men of Mubarak are still ruling. The head of the regime has fallen but all his men are still in their positions," he screamed in a telephone call to live television.
"Where is the security? Where is the government?"
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest political force, accused supporters of ousted president Hosni Mubarak of instigating the violence.
"The events in Port Said are planned and are a message from the remnants of the former regime," said MP Essam al-Erian in a statement on the Islamist group's Freedom and Justice Party website.
In other comments, also posted on the site, Erian said: "This tragedy is the result of negligence and the lack of army and police, and those running the country bear the responsibility.
"The collapse of security comes as though in revenge for our call to lift the state of emergency, with deliberate destruction in the country on the anniversary of the revolution," he said.
"There are those who deliberately want to sow chaos in the country and place obstacles in front of the peaceful transfer of power."
He said parliament would send a letter to the interior minister and security chiefs asking them to "take responsibility or stay at home".
Fire at another stadium
Gunfire was also reported on the main road leading to Port Said from Cairo.
Meanwhile in the capital, a fire broke out at Cairo Stadium during the first half of a match between Zamalek and Ismaili, prompting officials to cancel the match.
Emergency services managed to control the blaze, a security official said.
Egypt's state prosecutors have ordered an investigation into the pitch invasion and the violence that ensued, judicial sources said.
Egypt's parliament would hold an emergency session on Thursday, according to state media reports.
Increase in violence
Since last February's ouster of Mubarak, Egypt has seen sporadic and sometimes deadly unrest coupled with a sharp rise in crime, linked to the scarcity of the unpopular police, who were heavily criticised for their crackdown on protesters during the uprising.
Earlier on Wednesday, gunmen raided a money transfer company in Cairo, state news agency MENA reported, bringing to five the number of armed robberies in less than a week in a country previously unaccustomed to such incidents.
In the capital, with its population of 20 million, crimes such as car theft have also became more widespread over the past 12 months.
is egypt a failed state
are egyptians even human?
idk some arab news guy going INSANE over this
who knows whatever language this is
lots of reports coming in now are saying this was planned by da govt 4 revenge
More than 70 people dead FUCK
An event similar to this occurred in 2010 during the Algeria vs Egypt soccer world cup qualifying match. Resultantly the game was played again but this time in Sudan. Maybe they should do the same.
egyptians adamant that this was the result of the military getting revenge on the club that supported protestors during the revolution
trying to make up excuses for the fact that egyptians seem to be unable to act like human beings?
does anyone speak gibberish?
70 People got Died in this clash that is some thing seriously misserable :-(
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