The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 2, 2013

27 die in Egypt riot after soccer violence verdict

(Continued)

Egyptian military forces also were sent into the canal city of Suez after eight people died in Friday's clashes between security forces and protesters opposed to the new president and the Brotherhood. Another protester was killed in Ismailiya, and security officials told the state news agency MENA that two policemen were killed in Friday's protests.

Many of the young men who led the protests and clashes hail from the Ultras. They often come from poor neighborhoods and view the police force that was the backbone of Mubarak's authoritarian rule as their nemesis.

"The police are thugs!" yelled relatives of the deceased inside the courtroom before the judge took the bench.

Near Cairo's Tahrir Square, where tens of thousands had amassed to mark the two-year anniversary a day earlier, Ultras Al-Ahly waved their team's red flag as they clashed with police who fired tear gas to disburse the crowd near Cabinet headquarters and Parliament.

Underlining the distrust that lingers between much of the public and the police, survivors and witnesses say Mubarak loyalists had a hand in instigating last year's attack, which began after Port Said's home team won the match, 3-1, and that the police at the very least were responsible for gross negligence.

Al-Masry fans stormed the pitch after the game ended, attacking Cairo's Al-Ahly fans. Authorities shut off the stadium lights, plunging it into darkness. In the exit corridor, the fleeing crowd pressed against a chained gate until it broke open. Many were crushed under the crowd of people trying to flee.

Other survivors said it was simply bloodthirsty Al-Masry fans and lack of enough security that led to the deaths of their colleagues. Both sides blame police for failing to perform usual searches for weapons at the stadium.

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