Egyptians Blast Military for Deadly Soccer Rampage

Security stood by to let violence escalate, say Parliament leaders
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2012 1:29 AM CST
Updated Feb 2, 2012 6:46 AM CST
Egyptians Blast Military for Deadly Soccer Rampage
Egyptian fans rush into the field in the start of a melee that claimed 74 lives.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Egyptian politicians and activists are blaming the military for the world's deadliest soccer rampage in 15 years, which claimed the lives of 74 and injured more than 1,000 people. Leaders of the new Parliament accused the military-led government of deliberately allowing the violence at the Port Said match to escalate to justify boosted police powers and undercut the revolution. A senior Islamic lawmaker accused the military of “a plot against democratic transition” and of “a revenge against us," reports the New York Times. “The reason for this tragedy is the deliberate neglect and absence of the military and the police,” said Essam el Erian.

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The government military council "wants to prove that the country is heading toward chaos and destruction. They are Mubarak's men. They are applying his strategy when he said, 'Choose me or choose chaos,'" a member of the Coalition of the Revolutionary Youth told Reuters. Even the Twitterverse erupted with speculation about the lack of security in controlling the violence. Video of the scene shows police standing quietly by as the rampage between rival fans explodes on the field. “People here are dying, and no one is doing a thing. It’s like a war,” said a soccer player who told a local TV station that police did nothing. “Is life this cheap?” Egypt's military leader has vowed that all the guilty will be brought to justice, and the government has called for three days of mourning for the dead. Protest marches against security forces are planned today. (Read more Egypt stories.)

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