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Egyptian authorities blamed for deaths

Citizens, many of them soccer fans, took to the streets of Cairo on Thursday to protest the deaths of 73 people after a match the night before in the city of Port Said. Police were called into Tahrir Square and fired tear gas to try to drive back the protesters. The Egyptian soccer federation was dissolved, and the Port Said governor and security chief both quit.

Police are blamed for standing by as fans of host Al-Masry team chased down supporters of the visiting Al-Ahly club with knives, clubs and stones. There were reports that fans fell from the upper deck of the stadium. The violence was the worst since the overthrown of the Egyptian government last year. Hard-core fans from Al-Ahly and Cairo rival Zamalek played a key role in fighting police authorities during last year's protests that received worldwide coverage.

“The reason for this tragedy is the deliberate neglect and absence of the military and the police,” said Essam el Erian, a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm.

Said Al Ahly's Mohammed Abu Trika in an interview on Al Ahly’s satellite channel. “People here are dying, and no one is doing a thing. It’s like a war. Is life this cheap?”

Read the whole story at New York Times »

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