Political attacks after Egyptian soccer game leave dozens dead

The Al-Ahly soccer club is a dominant force in Egyptian soccer. Today, they lost 3-1 to Al-Masry, in a major upset. Immediately afterwards, Al-Ahly players and fans were attacked.

New York Times[/url]]Police officers around the stadium appeared unable or unwilling to control the violence, and video footage showed officers standing idle as groups of fans attacked each other with knives and other weapons.

In addition to the dead, Health Ministry officials said more than 1,000 people were injured, some from a stampede in the stadium. Locker rooms were turned into makeshift field hospitals, and by around 10 p.m. armored state security vehicles had arrived to transport the visiting team and its fans — from Cairo’s Ahly club — safely out of Port Said.

Why is this not just a "soccer hooliganism" thread? Well, the Al-Ahly supporters were highly visible during the Tahrir Square protests from day one, and were involved throughout the political transition. This level of political involvement isn't new to the club - it was founded in 1907 so that the student unions could meet during the struggle against colonialism.

There's widespread speculation that these attacks were planned in an attempt to prevent the Egyptian parliament from repealing Emergency Rule, which has been in force in Egypt since Sadat's assassination in 1981, and was planned to be repealed in the upcoming Parliamentary sessions.

Video of the attack - you can see the security does absolutely nothing.

I'm so confused.. I didnt see any real attacks there.. other than the few people that seemed to be trying to catch the soccer players as they fled the field.. I assume that was the losing team? or winning team??

In any event..clearly lots of people died somehow.. so this pretty much lets Philly fans off the hook..

TheGameguru wrote:

In any event..clearly lots of people died somehow.. so this pretty much lets Philly fans off the hook..

Wait! That wasn't Philadelphia?

TheGameguru wrote:

I'm so confused.. I didnt see any real attacks there.. other than the few people that seemed to be trying to catch the soccer players as they fled the field.. I assume that was the losing team? or winning team??

In any event..clearly lots of people died somehow.. so this pretty much lets Philly fans off the hook..

I'm really not sure how to respond to this. The video I posted was from the broadcast TV cameras there to cover the match, but I can post some more graphic pictures of the aftermath, if that's what you're looking for.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/gtKEh.jpg)

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/cDopL.jpg)

Dozens of Al-Ahly fans who didn't make it to the locker room were trapped in a corridor with attackers armed with stones, knives, clubs, and in some reports, machetes. Some of the fans who made it to the locker room still died (like the gentleman in red in that second picture). There are some early indications that the violence was not from actual fans of the winning team, but from agents provocateurs in the audience.

Daily Mail[/url]]Al-Masry fan, Mohammed Mosleh, who posted his account on Facebook, said he saw 'thugs with weapons' on his side in the stadium where police presence was meagre.

'This was unbelievable,' he said. 'We were supposed to be celebrating, not killing people. We defeated Al-Ahly, something I saw twice only in my lifetime. All the people were happy. Nobody expected this.'

Health ministry official Hisham Sheha said the deaths were caused by stabs by sharp tools, brain haemorrhage and concussions.

The American equivalent would be if the Green Bay Packers fans had a history of being politically engaged and generally antagonistic to the current government, and that after the Falcons pull off a surprise win, hundreds of "real American" patriots flooded the field and tried to kill as many Packers players and fans as they could, while police did nothing.

There's more context in this writeup on the attacks, and large protests against the government (and the military, who is still effectively running Egypt) continued throughout today.

Train station in Cairo, where protestors gathered while waiting for Al-Ahly players and fans to get back to the city.
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/Lqhp7.jpg)

From the protests in Cairo today:
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/cgdWH.jpg)

More photos, for anyone who's interested.

This feels like it has the potential to be the impetus for getting Mubarak's remaining allies entirely removed from power (which would be a good thing for Egypt, in my view).

I find this subject far too depressing to give this thread the curation it deserves, but wanted to include one more update for now.

Unsurprisingly, the clashes between police and demonstrators continued today. Three more people were killed, including a military officer who was accidentally run over by government forces.

Al-Ahram[/url]]Earlier Friday in Tahrir Square, the scene was dominated ahead of Friday prayers by around 1,000 protesters gathered on the corner with Mohamed Mahmoud Street. Waving the flags of bitter rivals Ahly and Zamalek football clubs, the protesters are chanting against the military council and for justice for those who have died.

The unofficial collaboration of Ahly and Zamalek football supporters on the ground is an indication, according to Mohamed, that this was and never will be about football. “It’s political,” he states, “Ultras Ahlawy is being targeted for its role in the revolution.”

As night falls the intensity of the CSF assault increases. The continually shifting front line and the existence of security forces on several side streets have given the conflict a chaotic and nerve-wracking fluidity. The several fronts have also compelled protesters to split ranks, as one group wades through clouds of thick white smoke eager to lob any and all tear gas canisters fired their way and another, two streets over, engages a phalanx of CSF troops and the sporadic fire of bird shot.

Demonstrators prepare for another night of battle with no sign of diminshing zeal or numbers, following more than a day of continuous clashes. Anti-military junta slogans resound and insults pepper the air in the narrow streets between the intermittant sound of CSF fire.

All this points to there being no end in sight to bloody confrontation. The military is nowhere to be seen. Many, however, wonder when they will play their hand.

On a slightly more-positive note. Soccer fans will know Bob Bradley was the coach of the US National Soccer team, until he was forced out in favor of current Coach Jurgen Klinsmann this past year. Even though it was poorly handled, Bob responded with grace and immediately moved on to a job coaching the Egyptian national team. With an outbreak of political violence like we're seeing this week, many coaches would immediately leave the country. Coach Bradley is not only staying, he's marching in support of the victims.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/rWYEj.jpg)

Now we're getting to the real revolution. The one before was just some people in power displacing other people in power. This is an attempt to remove most of the people currently in power.

Whether it will succeed... dunno. Revolutions are difficult things to manage. They often end up worse than what they replaced.

I'm really not sure how to respond to this. The video I posted was from the broadcast TV cameras there to cover the match, but I can post some more graphic pictures of the aftermath, if that's what you're looking for.

Sorry.. wasnt trying to diminish anything..rather that the video you posted didnt really show anything.. but clearly there was insanity going on.

I started to write about this but I'll just start over. In general the loss of life is regrettable but there are no signs this will stop.

Yesterday after I wrote a whole lot about how Egypt tourism and gas industry is affected by the revolution I heard a radio program that talked about the changes in the middle east . The lecture was given by Yoram Sheftel and I should warn he has a right wing point of view ( he hates the Israeli Labor party and all its generations).

Sheftel claims that Egypt is crumbling and the conditions there are really bad because there is no stable government. He said there are three concentrations of power - the military (which ruled Egypt since the 50s currently the active) , The Parliament which is controlled by Islamic radicals (70+%) and the president which haven't been elected yet which won't be an Islamic radical (the Islamic parties didn't run a candidate). Currently There is no stable government and things are just falling apart.He said that what happened in the stadium is an example of what would happen when those 3 powers fight over control . He also said that there is no chance of war between Israel and Egypt because there is no active government to lead the army. Other than that the Egyptian economy is in shambles .

He mentioned that in the past there were 7-8 million tourists visiting Egypt in 2010 and in 2011 less than half a million tourists. Other than that He said that their other major source of foreign capital is they sell natural gas to Israel and Jordan.Yesterday .... the gas pipe exploded again ( 9th? 10th time? I lost count) . Even when the pipe was active the Egyptians barely supplied a quarter of what they were contracted to supply.

It was a pretty interesting lecture . He claims Syria is currently in civil war which would get worst partially due to the support the current regime got from China and Russia . He claims Syria is heading for a split by ethnic group .