Thursday 19 October 2017

At least 25 football fans 'killed by police' in Egypt riot

Soccer fans are seen near a police vehicle, which was set on fire by fireworks, during clashes between soccer fans and security forces in front of a stadium on the outskirts of Cairo (REUTERS/Stringer)
Soccer fans are seen near a police vehicle, which was set on fire by fireworks, during clashes between soccer fans and security forces in front of a stadium on the outskirts of Cairo (REUTERS/Stringer)
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire on a truck as a riot broke out outside of a major soccer match between Egyptian Premier League clubs Zamalek and ENPPI at Air Defense Stadium in a suburb east of Cairo, Egypt, as a riot broke out between the Egypt security forces and Zamalek fans outside of the major soccer game at the stadium (AP Photo/Ahmed Abd El-Gwad, El Shorouk newspaper)
Fans of Egypt's Zamalek soccer team flock in droves outside the Air Defense Stadium to watch a match between Egyptian Premier League clubs Zamalek and ENPPI in a suburb east of Cairo. A riot broke out between the Egypt security forces and Zamalek fans outside of the major soccer game at the stadium, violence that killed at least 25 people (AP Photo/Ahmed Abd El-Gwad, El Shorouk newspaper)

Merrit Kennedy

At least 25 people were killed last night at a football match in Egypt after a riot broke out following fighting between police and fans.

The riot, only three years after similar violence killed 74 people, began ahead of a match between Egyptian Premier League clubs Zamalek and ENPPI at Air Defense Stadium east of Cairo.

Such attacks in the past have sparked days of protests pitting the country's hardcore fans against police officers in a nation already on edge after years of revolt and turmoil.

After convening an emergency meeting to discuss the violence, the Cabinet announced that it was postponing soccer matches until further notice.

Security officials said Zamalek fans tried to force their way into the match without tickets, sparking clashes. Fans have only recently been allowed back at matches and the Interior Ministry planned to let only 10,000 fans into the stadium, which has a capacity of about 30,000.

Zamalek fans, known as "White Knights", posted on their group's official Facebook page that the violence began because authorities opened only one narrow, barbed-wire door to let them in. They said that sparked pushing and shoving that later saw police officers fire tear gas and birdshot.

A fan who tried to attend the game said that police caused a stampede by firing tear gas at the tightly packed crowd.

"Those who fell down could not get back up again," the man said.

The Zamalek fan group later posted pictures on Facebook it claimed were of dead fans.

Irish Independent

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