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Egypt Bans Soccer League After About 25 Fans Die In Clashes With Police

The fans were killed Sunday in a stampede and in battles with police outside a Cairo stadium. WARNING: This post contains graphic images.

Originally posted on
Updated on

The Egyptian cabinet suspended the national soccer league late Sunday after the incident, one of the deadliest in the sport's history, the Associated Press reported.

As the AP reported:

On Monday, the pro-government media and the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police, sought to deflect blame from the security forces. The president of Zamalek, lawyer Mortada Mansour, told a private TV station that police did not open fire on the club's fans, as was widely reported on social media, and that Sunday's violence was "orchestrated" to foil upcoming parliamentary elections.

Authorities also confirmed to Reuters that at least 22 people had been killed.

Officials said the violence broke out at Air Defense Stadium in the northeast part of the city during a game between Egyptian Premier League clubs Zamalek and ENPPI.

Police officers began to clash with Zamalek fans, known as White Knights, after the fans tried to force their way into the stadium to watch the game, according to AFP.

The Egyptian interior ministry said in a statement that the fans had been trying to get in without tickets, Egyptian news organization Ahram reported.

"The Zamalek fans tried to get in by force, and we had to prevent them from damaging public property," it said.

خرجنا بره ع الرصيف في بوكس جيه عكس كان عاوز يدوس الناس

Eissa | عيسي@adeleissa1Follow

خرجنا بره ع الرصيف في بوكس جيه عكس كان عاوز يدوس الناس

12:08 PM - 08 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

However, the White Knights wrote on their Facebook page that the violence broke out when police would only open one door to the stadium, the AP reported.

يكفي هذا المشهد لوصف ما حدث #اشتباكات_الدفاع_الجوى #uwk #ultras_white_knights

Muhammed Magdy@aprilymasryFollow

يكفي هذا المشهد لوصف ما حدث
#اشتباكات_الدفاع_الجوى
#uwk #ultras_white_knights

1:43 PM - 08 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

The group posted that the authorities only opened one, small door that was surrounded with barbed wire.

A witness told the AP that police began firing on the crowd with birdshot and tear gas after the fans began pushing to get into the small space.

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

One user posted a photo of a fan with a bloody soccer uniform.

الراجل دا مش قادر انسي صوته بيقول الواد علي ايدي مات بس

Eissa | عيسي@adeleissa1Follow

الراجل دا مش قادر انسي صوته
بيقول الواد علي ايدي مات
بس

1:46 PM - 08 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

A user also uploaded a video apparently from the scene. WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Egypt is no stranger to violence at soccer matches.

In 2012, a riot between two opposing teams at a match in the city of Port Said killed more than 70 people.

After the tragedy, the country banned members of the public from attending games.

The country lifted the ban late last year but put attendance quotas on the stadiums, according to Al Arabiya News.

Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Stephanie McNeal at stephanie.mcneal@buzzfeed.com.

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