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Port Said Soccer Violence Spreads As Protestors In Cairo, Suez Clash With Police

At least 70 people have died in Port Said, Egypt, in a riot following a soccer match, and the violence is spreading to other cities with a protestors blame the deaths on inadequate protection provided by Egypt's security forces.

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11 Total Updates since February 1, 2012
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Egypt Protests Turn Deadly As Police Open Fire On Demonstrators

Things have gone from bad to worse in Egypt. Thousands of al-Ahly fans went on the march on Thursday in order to protest the weakened security that led to a riot following Wednesday's soccer match between al-Masry and al-Ahly in Port Said - a riot in which at least 74 people lost their lives, and according to a report from the AP, clashes with the police by protestors have now turned deadly.

At the Interior Ministry in Cairo, the a 10,000-strong gathering was dispersed with tear gas, but police went further than that in Suez, apparently opening fire on a crowd of 3,000 people following. Two demonstrators have been killed, with fifteen more wounded, adding to the senseless loss of life from Port Said. At this point, it's extremely difficult to distinguish politics from sports, and with Ultras (supporters' groups) of various clubs dabbling in revolution. One member for the al-Ahly delivered a bone-chilling message to the police opposing the marches: "Either they will die or we will die."

We can only hope that the situation doesn't deteriorate any further. The death toll is approaching triple figures, the Egypt Soccer Federation has been dissolved and the violence is spreading. It's been a very dark 48 hours for the sport.

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Egyptian FA Dissolved Over Port Said Violence

Egyptian prime minister Kamal el-Ganzouri has reacted to the horrific events at Port Said, which have left at least 74 dead and many more injured, by dissolving the board of the Egyptian Football Association and referring its members for questioning by prosecutors. The situation is getting ugly with many blaming inadequate security for the violence, which broke out when fans of al-Masry invaded the pitch and began to attack al-Ahly staff and players following the end of the two teams' always-contentious match.

Talking to the BBC, al-Ahly official Hanan Zeini claimed that the lax security that allowed the rioting was premeditated, although there seems to be little reason to allow something like this to be happen. What's clear is that there's going to be some major fallout - two prominent local politicians have resigned from their posts in the wake of the disaster and FIFA is pressing for a report on just how this was allowed to occur.

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Al-Ahly Players And Staff React To Port Said Riots

We're now getting first-hand accounts of the violence in Port Said, Egypt, which left at least 74 people dead following rioting after the match between home side al-Masry and hated rivals al-Ahly. Assistant al-Ahly coach Pedro Barney, who fled the pitch with his players as fans attempted to chase them down, described the scene as an 'unspeakable catastrophe' and yeah, that sounds about right:

From the beginning of the game, the fans of the opposing team were allowed to fire rockets and stones at us without any intervention.

In the end, it turned into a state of madness without any role for the security in the stands. We tried to save the lives of some of the fans, but many died before our eyes.

Meanwhile, al-Ahly head coach Manuel Jose has returned to Portugal after the riots, and there's no real indication that he's interested in returning. Some members of the team have already announced their decision to quit the sport entirely, including goalkeeper Sharif Ikrami, who was injured during the pitch invasion - and has claimed that the entire al-Ahly squad will never play football again.

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Al-Masry Vs. Al-Ahly Riots: Masry President Resigns; Cairo Stadium Fire Unrelated

The riots following the Al-Masry vs. Al-Ahly in Port Said, Egypt, are bad enough, with dozens killed and many many more injured following a pitch invasion. Reports from elsewhere suggested that worse was to come, with rumours that 74,000 seat Cairo Stadium had been set on fire when Zamalek fans protested the calling off of their home match against Al-Ismailiya in response to the violence. Fortunately, that's apparently not the case. Cairo Stadium did indeed catch fire, but it appears to have been the result of a short-circuit than due to rioting, and the blaze has since been put out with no loss of life.

That's a far cry from the situation in Port Said, where at last count 73 people, including security staff, have died. The Egyptian Football Association has now confirmed that Al-Masry president Kamel Abu Ali has resigned over the disaster, but the entire association has some soul-searching to do over this - Egyptian football has a reputation for violence and they must now take significant steps to ensure something like this does not happen again. According to the BBC, the newly-elected Egyptian parliament will hold an emergency session over the rioting on Thursday.

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Al-Masry Vs. Al-Ahly Riots: Death Toll Rises To 73, League Suspends Operations

Things are going from horrifying to even more horrifying in the Egyptian City of Port Said, where a pitch invasion followed the match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly, which Al-Masry, hosting, won 3-1. The Al-Masry fans appeared to go after the Al-Ahly players and staff after the final whistle, and things escalated from a pitch invasion to a full-scale, deadly riot.

In light of the dreadful incident, the Egyptian league has suspended operations indefinitely by order of the president of the Egypt Football Association, Samir Zaher:

Official: Egyptian League has been suspended indefinitely. Ahly-Zamalek were due to play next Wed (Al Arabiya)
Feb 01 via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

While suspending play is the only reaction possible to the horrible events of today, it seems like a piteous response when you consider the magnitude of what's going on. The latest reports have 73 people dead, and with hospitals appealing for blood donations it would be a (happy) surprise if that was the final toll.

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