After clashes at a soccer game in Port Said yesterday between the local Marsy team and Cairo’s Ahly team, a lot of questions remain unanswered.
For instance, why was there practically no security present at the game? The two teams have a long history of rivalry and there is always a serious potential for violence between them. Both the governor of Port Said and it’s security chief were absent at a game they usually attend, another mysterious fact. The most mysterious of all is certainly the fact that the Marsy fans, despite having won, attacked the Ahly fans.
Most media talked about the strong potential of soccer games to turn violent but in fact, incidents are occasional and games are mostly peaceful. This time however, 74 people were killed in a single game, mostly Ahly ultra-motivated fans known as Ultras. These same Cairo Ahly Ultras were very involved in protests and battles against Mubarak and the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF). The same SCAF policemen were in charge of security for yesterday’s game.
Ahly fans and other protesters marched today towards the Cairo police station chanting against the SCAF and the Ministry of Interior. MP Ziad El Elaimy, said that a mistake of these proportions could only be deliberate. Many Egyptians share this opinion and think that the low security presence was intended and that the SCAF sent saboteurs in the crowd to teach the Ahly Ultras a lesson. The head of the military junta, field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, opted to put the blame on unidentified “citizens.” “We hope that all the Egyptian people will come together… Those who committed those acts are Egyptian citizens, aren’t they? How come Egyptians are allowing them to remain, are not stopping them?” Tantawi said. “Them” of course refers to activists that participated in the ouster of Hosni Mubarak a year ago.
Foreign Policy, United States