New footage casts doubt on police tactics during Egypt football disaster

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said that the disaster was “tragedy” and has called for an immediate investigation into the incident

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The Independent Online

Newly released amateur footage has cast doubts over the tactics used by police during the stadium disaster that saw at least 25 fans die as they queued to watch a football match in the east of Cairo.

The footage captured on a fan’s phone shows thousands of Zamalek supporters waiting outside the gates to see their team play rivals ENPPI at the Air Defense Stadium on Sunday night.

In the video, thousands of fans can be seen waiting outside the ground’s narrow entrance flanked by riot police.

As more and more fans attempt to get through the entrance, it quickly becomes overwhelmed and collapses.

The collapsed gate causes panic throughout the crowd leading to a crush.

Police are then seen adding to the chaos by forcing the crowd back and firing teargas into the crowd.

The teargas appears to set off a stampede which ultimately led to the deaths of the Zamalek fans.

In the light of the new footage, crowd control experts believe that the police could have done more to avoid the deaths.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, security analyst Steve Park said that by using teargas the Egyptian police were adding “flames to the fire” by using teargas.

He said: “Police need to manage the crowd, pick out ringleaders that are causing trouble.”

“If you have got to use force a show of force, you have got to show this force in an unaggressive manner so that people at least take respect from that, because as soon as you start using teargas or runner bullets you are just adding flames to that fire.”

The Zamalek supporters association has also questioned the way the police handled the situation calling the incident “a massacre”.

Police have defended themselves by saying that they were overwhelmed by the sheer number of people, claiming thousands of people without tickets had attempted to enter the stadium.

Yesterday, the police arrested 21 Zamalek fans in connection with the disaster.

The country’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said that the disaster was “tragedy” and has called for an immediate investigation into the incident.

Last month, the tactics of the police once again came under scrutiny after at least 25 people were killed during a march to mark the fourth anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution.