CAIRO (MCT) — Thousands of protesters marched on the Interior Ministry in Cairo as Egypt began three days of mourning Thursday for 74 people killed in a soccer riot that renewed anger against the nation’s police and ruling military council.
The protesters, many of them die-hard fans from Cairo’s Ahly soccer club, swelled across a bridge over the Nile, marching through Tahrir Square toward the barricaded Interior Ministry.
The military-backed interim government attempted to stem growing rage by announcing a criminal investigation and forcing the resignation of several officials.
Those steps did little to appease families who waited outside a morgue to collect the bodies of their loved ones, most of them young men. Families and politicians blamed the police and the military for incompetence, if not complicity, in the deadly violence that erupted when hooligans from a soccer team in Port Said attacked rival fans from Cairo with knives, clubs and chairs.
Cairo fans in the stadium said police did little to protect them as they were chased toward locked doors by mobs. Families members and politicians said they believed the riot was instigated by security forces and thugs loyal to toppled President Hosni Mubarak. They added that such unrest allows the military to tighten its hold on the country.
“This was an organized crime,” Hussein Ibrahim, a lawmakers, said on the floor of parliament.
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