Cairo: 400 Injured in Clashes Between Police and Protesters

Nearly 400 injured in Cairo, in clashes between police and protesters angered by the deaths of 74 people after a soccer match.

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Elad Benari,

Melee in Egyptian soccer match
Melee in Egyptian soccer match

Nearly 400 people were injured in Cairo on Thursday, in clashes between police and protesters angered by the deaths of 74 people on Wednesday after a soccer match in the city of Port Said.

The BBC reported that thousands of people marched towards the interior ministry, where police fired tear gas to keep them back.

Thursday’s clashes came after a melee which erupted on Wednesday at the end of a soccer match in Port Said resulted in many deaths. According to some reports, Egyptian security forces opened file on stampeding fans.

The carnage took place after the final whistle was blown in the central game of Egypt's top league, with a surprise 3-1 victory by home team Al Masry over Egypt's leading team, Al Ahly.

Al Ahly fans descended on the playing field and proceeded to chase and beat the opposing team's players and fans, hurling stones and sticks and causing a stampede.

According to the BBC report, throughout the day on Thursday, Al Ahly supporters gathered outside the club's stadium in Cairo. A series of protest marches moved towards Tahrir Square, and then on to the ministry of interior.

Some chanted slogans against Egypt's military rulers, while others threw stones, the report said. The Egyptian state news agency MENA quoted a health ministry official as saying 388 protesters were injured. Most of them were suffering from tear gas inhalation as well as bruises and broken bones from rocks that were thrown.

Meanwhile on Thursday, the Egyptian parliament met for an emergency session following the incident in the soccer stadium.

Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri told MPs the head of Egypt's soccer association had been sacked and the board dissolved, with its members referred to prosecutors for questioning, the BBC reported.

He added that Port Said's director of security and the head of investigations were suspended and are now in custody.

Meanwhile the Muslim Brotherhood, which has emerged as Egypt's biggest party in recent elections, blamed the supporters of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for the violence in the soccer field.