Witness Accounts Around the Port Said Tragedy

Port Said Stadium - 1 February 2011 - Source: AFP
Thursday 2 February 2012

In the aftermath of the bloody events which took place in Port Said on Wednesday 1 February 2012, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) sent a fact-finding mission to the city. The mission reached Port Said before midnight on Wednesday and immediately began interviewing witnesses. The EIPR publishes some of their testimonies:

Video 4 – Eyewitness: Police Officer Knew of the Incident Hours Before it Happened
- At 3:30 I was on my way from Port Said to Mansoura and there was a policeman with us in the car who had left his post hours before the match started, saying: "I am going back home because people will die today."


Video 3 – Eyewitness Accounts from Members of the Public and Young People of Port Said
- Military police forces were present inside the stadium until the end of the match.
- Police officers prevented soldiers from dealing with thugs.
- Investigative Officer Mahmoud el-Murr did not respond when fans demanded that ambulances be called.
- Usually fans are always searched before entering the stadium, and prevented from bringing in water bottles and cigarette lighters – but this did not happen.


Video 2 – Eyewitnesses from al-Masry Supporters:
- Fans saw a leniency and laxity from security which they had not seen before.
- The western door of the stadium was left open from the middle of the second half of the match.
- Stadium lights were turned off as soon as the match ended.
- Tickets were stolen two days before the match, and the main door of the stadium was left open without security.
- Usually, this type of match has a security perimeter around it of 2-3km.
- Saw a lot of knives, sticks, chains, and other small weapons.


Video 1 – Mohamed Saleh, Engineer: Eyewitness from  al-Masry supporters
- Unusually, fans were not searched before entering the stadium, and were surprised to find armed men in their midst.
- Chaotic organisation and security despite widespread expectations of rioting and violence.
- Particular groups alluded to violence, and security dealt with them with surprising indulgence.
- Suspiciously, stadium management turned off the lights in the middle of the attacks on Ahly fans.