An Al Jazeera report claims that at least 40 have died due to a soccer riot in Egypt on Sunday featuring Zamelek fans and police.
This took place about a month after club soccer returned to Egypt. Club soccer was banned by the Egyptian government after a riot broke out at Port Said Stadium in 2012 among El Masry and El Ahly fans leaving 72 dead and hundreds injured. Former USMNT manager Bob Bradley was manager of the Egyptian national team. He has had a unique perspective of the political unrest in Egypt and this PBS documentary chronicles the situation well. The entire hour is worth watching.
Getting back to Sunday. Witnesses described that the rioting started when “police tried to set up barricades and used tear gas to disperse football fans trying to force their way into the army-owned stadium.” The Egyptian Interior Ministry said that Zamelek fans “tried to storm the stadium gates by force” after not having tickets and that prompted the violence.
Zamekek fans took to Facebook to explain their side of the story. They said that the police “opened one narrow, barbed-wire door which sparked pushing and shoving that later saw police officers fire tear gas and birdshot.”
A witness told Al Jazeera, “The police were in front and behind the gate. They fired tear gas. This caused panic and people fell on top of each other. We started to leave quickly. There were old people in the crowd and they were crushed by other fans.”
Anytime something like this happens, it’s tough. To me, going to a sporting event is fun and can be an escape from the things we have to deal with in every day life. It’s horrible to think that someone can go to a sporting event and never come home but it happens. What we know is that at least 40 people are dead, maybe more and it’s a tragedy. The Egyptian Premier League has been suspended indefinitely again but that’s secondary to what’s going on in every day life in Egypt. We can only hope that through the political unrest, there is someday peace in Egypt.