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Egypt suspends soccer league after deadly riot

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-02-09 20:18

Egypt suspends soccer league after deadly riot

Soccer fans argue with security personnel as they attempt to enter a stadium before a scuffle broke out, on the outskirts of Cairo, Feb 8, 2015.[Photo/Agencies]

CAIRO - Egypt's Cabinet has indefinitely suspended the national soccer league after at least 22 fans were killed in a stampede and clashes with police outside a Cairo stadium, three years after Egypt witnessed one of the deadliest soccer riots in the sport's history.

The Cabinet announced the suspension late Sunday after riot police clashed with hundreds of soccer fans and fired tear gas to clear a narrow corridor leading to the Air Defense stadium in an eastern Cairo suburb, setting off a deadly stampede.

Egypt last suspended the league in 2012 after 74 fans were killed in rioting at a match in the Suez Canal city of Port Said. That violence sparked widespread outrage at the police and the then-ruling transitional military council for not doing enough to stop the killings.

Fans have only recently been allowed back in stadiums, but authorities continue to limit the number who can attend.

Egypt's public prosecutor has ordered an investigation of the violence. The largely militarized police force is already facing heightened scrutiny following the shooting death of an unarmed female protester last month in downtown Cairo.

The president of Zamalek, lawyer Mortada Mansour, told a private TV station that police did not open fire on the club's fans, as was widely reported on social media, and that Sunday's violence was "orchestrated" to foil upcoming parliamentary elections.

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