By WOO DONG KYUN
Port Said Stadium, Egypt- A soccer match between Al-Ahly and Al-Masry concludes 3 to 1 with Al-Masry victorious. Fans boo and create a ruckus hollering in disappointment as Al-Masry celebrate. Seconds later, a fan spots what seems to be a crowd of armed spectators, and is knocked out by a nearby rocket explosion.
On Wednesday Feb 1st, the violent soccer riot at the stadium tolled 74 deaths after 10,000 armed spectators charged across the field shooting rockets and throwing stones at the visiting fans. Many think the scene is a conspiracy because security levels were at a minimum, allowing a full assault on the victims.
Soccer in Egypt is not about which team wins and loses, but about who goes to the game. Ultras – a group that helped in the downfall of Hosni Mubarak – were the main victims during the assault. The fact that the Ultras are Al-Ahly fans may make people look deeper into the riot.
Why would the winning team assault the losing team instead of celebrating?
It so happens that last year, former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted from his position due to his involvement in the deaths of protestors and abusing power; A riot focused on Ultras as the victims could only leave Mubarak supporters as the assailants: an attempt to throw the community into turmoil.
“To me, this is the actions of people who do not want the country to be stable and want to put off the tourists from coming here”, said Former Al-Ahly player Hani Seddik.
On Saturday, February 4, the streets in Cairo suffered from protests and battles between the security forces and protestors. The death toll marked 12 deaths with thousands injured.
On Tuesday, February 14, FIFA gave $250,000 in aid to the victims’ families. FIFA’s donation may have been of significant help, however, it has been one of the myriad contributions.
Relief has come both legally and illegally: With Abul Naga, a Mubarak associate, and the military in power, there is thorough monitoring of what comes in and goes. Unregistered funds by 43 people to promote democracy have put them for trial.
The country, as it is in turmoil, has heard unconvincing words from prominent figures like Abul Naga, who claimed evidence of democratic supporters as working to bring down the ruling regime in Egypt– as instruments of the C.I.A.
This event has been blamed on Mubarak supporters to as far as the C.I.A. by prosecutors. Many if not most see it as conspiracy in play, but the real question is, who pulled the strings.