The Soccer Clashes…اشتبكات كرة القدم

One simply gets tired of writing posts on violence. Egyptian society has become emotionally exhausted over the past year as political reform has fizzled, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces manipulates the transition process to ensure the protection of its political and economic interests, and political parties play high politics at the expense of protestors advanced their desired reform in the streets. The results is a sense of latent societal frustration the equivalent of large pine forest after a ten year drought. All both need lack is a strike of lightning to burst into flames.

On Thursday night lightning struck in Port Said when soccer riots in the aftermath of an Egyptian soccer match left more than seventy people dead and hundreds more injured. Theories were quickly developed blaming the Central Security Forces – who usually secure the matches – for their failures to deploy police in mass (as the usual case) or stop the riots once they started. During the January 25, 2011 revolution, the Ahli-Ultras – who together with their Zamalek counterparts – possessed a wealth of experience in combatting the Central Security Forces and applied their experience to securing Tahrir Square and fighting off the thugs hired by the Interior Ministry (especially during the Battle of the Camel.) They bloodied the noses of the regime and the Central Security Forces; both of whom – according to the theories – now desire revenge.

The societal responses were predictable. Parliament equivocated forming a committee to investigate the riots; the Brotherhood pulled a “SCAF” and blamed foreign hands; and enraged Ultras, liberals and their supporters have seized the opportunity to return to the Tahrir Square demanding the resignation of SCAF and al-Ganzouri’s government. Outside of the Tahrir ‘bubble’, a police station in Marg has been set a blaze freeing twenty-seven convicts and reports of live ammunition used against protestors filter in from Suez. Clashes are their thickets in Tahrir, however,  as weapons-grade tear gas once again envelopes downtown Cairo. Protestors have succeeded in demolishing one of the many barricades surrounding the Interior Ministry but Central Security Forces are preventing them from approaching the heavily-guarded building via Mansour St.

Motorcycle ambulances ferry the growing injured to field hospitals stocked with bandages and volunteer doctors; bloody pictures and exaggerated truths fill the twitter-sphere; and the majority of society ignores the developments engrossed in accomplishing the tasks necessary for daily survival as Egypt flashes back to late November.


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