Dozens Killed In Riot After Egyptian Soccer Match

Feb 1, 2012
Originally published on February 1, 2012 4:12 pm
(The death toll and injured figures were updated at 3:20 p.m. ET.)

There are reports of more than 70 people being killed today and around 1,000 injured during a melee following a soccer match in Port Said, Egypt.

The Associated Press writes that Egypt's health ministry says "at least 73 people" died. Reuters reports that many more were injured, according to officials. Al-Jazeera writes that:

"Fans of the winning al-Masry team flooded the field seconds after the match with al-Ahly, Egypt's top team, was over. A security official said the fans chased the players and cornered their supporters on the field and around the stadium, throwing stones and bottles at them. Most of the victims reportedly died from suffocation or head injuries."

The al-Ahly team's Facebook page is pointing to a report from health ministry officials about the tragedy.

Meanwhile, Reuters adds that "soon after reports of the pitch invasion spread, Egyptian television showed images of a fire in Cairo's soccer stadium, after the referee cancelled a match between the teams Zamalek and Ismaili." There are unconfirmed reports about deaths there as well.

Given the location — Egypt — there will be considerable speculation on what role, if any, authorities played in letting things get out of control. As NPR's Andy Carvin reminds us, though, The New Yorker has gone to some lengths to explain how and why "crowd disasters" happen. The reasons vary greatly.

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