Egypt in shock following Port Said riots as security forces blamed
Following the stadium riots in the northern Egyptian city of Port Said, which left at least 74 dead, many people have been protesting against what they called the negligence by the security forces and against the ruling military junta. Officials of the attacked club Al-Ahly blamed the police and spoke about politically motivated violence. Some of the players have expressed their intention to end their professional career.
In the early hours of Thursday, many people gathered in Cairo to protest against the alleged negligence of the security forces. Near the offices of Al-Ahly club, activists chanted slogans against the ruling military council.
Hundreds also gathered in the Mediterranean city of Port Said. They condemned the violence. There was also a call to organize later in the day a protest in front of the Interior Ministry in Cairo.
The Egyptian state television reported that soldiers were deployed in Port Said to prevent further unrest. The head of the Military Council, Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, announced an investigation into the incidents. The Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim stated that 47 suspects were arrested. The Egyptian parliament will hold on Thursday a crisis meeting.
According to Egypt's Health Ministry, at least 1,000 people were injured. As of Thursday morning, about 150 of the wounded were in critical condition. Al Arabiya TV said there were 77 dead while other media outlets reported the death toll amounted to 74. Among the dead were members of the security forces.
On his part, the Portuguese coach of Al-Ahly Manuel Jose said he saw dozens of victims. Many were seriously injured who were treated by the club doctors. Some of them died in the locker room. "The blame is solely on the police. There were just dozens in the stadium, but they disappeared suddenly," the 65-year-old said shortly after the incident in a telephone interview with Portuguese TV channel SIC .
Al-Ahly's assistant coach Oscar Elizondo spoke of political violence. "There is a lot of hate," he said. Police behavior was described by him as a "disgrace."