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The Ultras for the National club had started making their mark with their organization, their unity, their enthusiastic youth and catchy songs. They started demonstrating with the rest of the youth of the country, but now they were for Egypt, not just for football. Coming in second were the Zamalek Ultras, the White Knights. Zamalek being the traditional rival of the National club. But in an unprecedented move, both Ultras united to stand for the revolution against the oppressive SCAF rule, but especially against the corrupt police force.
Another traditional rival to the National club was the El Masri club of Port Said. As a measure to get people back to normality, SCAF decided to resume football matches, where most Egyptians were enthusiastic fans of one team or another. On February 1, 2012 a match was scheduled between the National club and the Masri club on the latter’s ground in Port Said. Naturally the National’s Ultras packed up and went to Port Said to cheer their club on.
Everything appeared to be going well, except that the train that took them from Cairo stopped around 20 kilometers out of Port Said and they had to find alternate transportation to get there. No reason was given, and the youth just took it in stride and forged on, eager to get to their destination and their team.
The way these things are set up is to ensure none of the fans of either club has access to the other fans, just to make sure that no violence erupts from any friction. One end of the stadium was dedicated to the National club’s Ultras, with their own exit gate, their own dressing rooms, their own stairwell.
The match went well, but the National club was losing. During half time some derogatory words and chants were exchanged between the two teams of fans. Just business as usual. The second half ended with a definite win for the home team the Masri of Port Said. Then suddenly the whole stadium was pitched in total darkness. All the lights were turned off. But the cameras were still rolling and recorded a surge by all the “spectators” on the other side of the stadium towards the bleachers where the National Ultras were. Suddenly knives and chains as well as thick clubs appeared in the hands of those attacking the National club’s Ultras. Panic took over and the young fans tried to run towards the exit. Stumbling down the relatively narrow staircase, they reached the gate to find it locked! Worse panic as the flood of fleeing boys from those hacking at them with the knives, beating their brains with the clubs, in one or two cases, throwing them off the top rungs of the bleachers to their death on the cement below! Came up against the unmoving throng already there. One very young boy, a 14 year old called Anas was hanged. Those fleeing kept tumbling in on top of one another, squashing the first ones who got to the closed gate, then on and on, till it finally filtered through that they have to go back. Like the sudden beginning of the attack, it suddenly ended. The armed “spectators” melted away leaving in their wake a carnage of unprecedented horror. The final official count was 75 young fans dead.
The nightmare was slowly revealed when bit by bit the facts started to be uncovered. Word was put out that it was the fans of the Masri club that were the culprits. But that did not make sense as their club had won. Then it was revealed that the stringent security measures usually enforced in such cases were totally suspended and that even people without tickets were allowed in without any kind of surveillance or frisking for hidden weapons. This could not have been done without the total involvement of the police. Also who was responsible for turning off the lights when the stadium was still full? But the final piece of horror was revealed when it was discovered that the gate dedicated for the exit of the National club’s Ultras was not just locked, but was welded together and sealed, in advance of the match! Premeditation. In the first hours after the news of this tragedy, the Port Said police rounded up some young men and accused them of being behind this massacre. This was a blatant attempt at throwing dust in the eyes of any investigating body, as some of those young men had not even attended the match.
The development of this case was to happen a few months later when Morsi was President, and would have dire consequences.
This was the situation in Egypt while Parliamentary elections went through bringing in the worst Parliament Egypt ever had. Followed by even worse Presidential elections, which landed us with a terrorist organization ruling the country.
End of SCAF Rule
Continued … One Year Under Morsi’s Rule