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New violence threatens Egypt’s fragile stability

By Naila Missous

Egyptian football fans and politicians have vented their anger at the ruling army for failing to prevent one of the worst football riots to ever take place, leaving 74 people dead.

It has been claimed to be the worst violence since Hosni Mubarak was ousted as president a year ago.

It has raised fears that the country could now be engulfed by a new wave of protests against Egypt’s interim military government. Many have even claimed that the riots were instigated by the Egyptian Military.

The deaths occurred after a match between Egypt’s biggest club, Al-Ahly of Cairo, which has become synonymous with the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak last year, and Al-Masry of Port Said.

Supporters of the home team, Al-Masry, swarmed the pitch on Wednesday night after a rare 3-1 win against Al-Ahly.

The security officials said some police conscripts were among those dead in the violence.

The two clubs have had a fractious relationship for some time, with several clashes occurring between fans over the years.

One of the Muslim Brotherhood’s best-known figures, Essam el-Erian believed that it was the former military dictatorship behind the violence.

He said; “The events in Port Said are planned and are a message from the remnants of the former regime,”

The conflict was one of the worst cases of football violence in Egypt and the deadliest worldwide since 1996 when at least 78 people died and 180 others were injured in a stampede at a stadium in Guatemala City before a World Cup qualifying match between Guatemala and Costa Rica.

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