Egypt fans, cops to blame for stadium deaths
13 February 2012, 14:52
Cairo - An Egyptian parliamentary inquiry into the deaths of 74 people
in a soccer stadium disaster has found both fans and lax security to
blame for the worst incident of its kind in the country's history, the
legislator leading it said on Sunday.
The preliminary findings of
the inquiry into the Port Said deaths offered little to support the
view of those Egyptians who believed the deaths were the result of a
plot hatched by elements within the establishment seeking to create
Ashraf Thabet, the member of parliament who headed the
inquiry, listed factors including incitement by sports TV channels as
the cause of the incident which touched off several days of violent
protests in which 16 more people were killed.
occurred at the end of a match between Port Said-based al-Masry and
Cairo's Al Ahly, the most successful club in Africa.
the February 02 incident had said hundreds of al-Masry supporters
surged across the pitch to the visitors' end causing panicked Ahly fans
to dash for the exit. But the steel doors were bolted shut and dozens
were crushed to death in the stampede. Many believe the incident was
sparked by hired thugs.
Thabet spoke of instigators who had used
thugs and hardcore soccer fans to take "advantage of the tension
surrounding the game to achieve some political gains", but without
giving further details. "We will announce their names," he said.
of the military-led authorities had laid the blame on the government,
some saying the violence was planned to create an air of chaos that
would add to the case for army rule.
said fans were not inspected while entering the stands and there was a
lack of order inside and outside the stadium. "Security facilitated,
allowed and enabled this massacre," he said. The security forces had
failed to predict trouble and control the crowd stampede, he added.
also laid blame on "Ultras", the hardcore soccer fans who regularly
confront riot police at matches and have been on the front line of
confrontations with the security forces since the uprising that toppled
Hosni Mubarak from power.
Most Egyptian teams have their own group of Ultras.
said there had been tension between the fans before the match. "Both
ultras and thugs attacked Ahly fans and this is part of Ultras'
culture," Thabet said.
Similar instances of pitch invasions had
occurred in Port Said in the past few months, Thabet said, but without
Demonstrators blaming the security forces for
the deaths targeted the Interior Ministry in downtown Cairo in protest
at what some saw as police complacency. Others said the security forces
had a role in igniting trouble.
The committee said investigations
were still ongoing and that it would announce final results in its
final report which would assign political responsibility for the events.