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EGYPT: Mubarak steps into Algerian football spat


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has sought to calm an angry and defeated Egypt following the nation's dramatic soccer loss to Algeria, which has led to riots in the streets and a nasty international political row between the two North African nations.   

Delivering a previously scheduled speech to Parliament today, the 81-year-old president spoke publicly for the first time about the violence that erupted over the last week during two World Cup qualifying matches. Algeria's players were attacked by Egyptian fans, and Egyptian fans were threatened and assaulted by Algerian mobs. Tensions between the nations further intensified when Egypt recalled its ambassador to Algiers.

"I want to say in clear words that the dignity of Egyptians is part of the dignity of Egypt," Mubarak said without directly naming Algeria, which on Wednesday defeated Egypt 1-0 to advance to the World Cup championship in 2010. "Egypt does not tolerate those who hurt the dignity of its sons." 

While many fuming Egyptians are calling for cutting political and economic ties with Algeria, Mubarak was keen not to give any conclusive statements during his speech: "We don't want to be drawn into impulsive reactions," he said. "I am agitated too, but I restrain myself."


The president's words came less than 48 hours after the Ministry of Interior announced that 35 people, including 11 police officers, were injured in clashes when hundreds of Egyptian demonstrators attempted to break into the Algerian Embassy in Cairo on Thursday evening and early Friday.

Despite a longstanding reputation for crushing protests before they begin, the Egyptian police, according to media reports, seemed to sympathize with the rioters. It has appeared in recent days that the entire nation -- from top government officials to shopkeepers -- has needed to vent its anger. The soccer violence has cut deep into the national psyche at a time Egyptians were looking for inspiration and pride from a country marred by corruption, unemployment and failing government services.

Tensions between two of the Arab world's poorest nations began before the teams' first qualifying match in Cairo one week ago, when Egyptian fans hurled stones at a bus carrying Algerian players from Cairo International Airport to their hotel. Three Algerian players and one coach were injured.

Algerians were further provoked when the Algerian newspaper Al Chourouk falsely wrote that 11 Algerian fans were killed in clashes following Egypt's 2-0 win last Nov. 14. Consequently, some members of the Egyptian community in Algeria, as well as Egyptian-owned businesses, were attacked by furious Algerians. Orascom Telecommunications reported that damage to its offices in Algeria totaled millions of dollars.

The bitter rivalry between the continued in Khartoum, Sudan, on Wednesday when Algeria defeated Egypt 1-0 to win a spot in the 2010 World Cup championship. Violence quickly spread after the match. Egyptian fans who had traveled to Khartoum called TV stations claiming that Algerian mobs attacked their buses on the way from Omdurman stadium to Khartoum International Airport.

Mubarak's youngest son, Alaa, who was present in Khartoum, immediately expressed his outrage: "Whoever was there to support Algeria weren’t football fans. They were a group of mercenaries practicing some sort of terror," Mubarak Jr. told Dream TV on Thursday. "I could see in their eyes an enormous amount of hatred towards Egyptians. Now I'm grateful they won, otherwise they could have started a massacre against us."

He added: "Whoever dares to beat an Egyptian should be hit on his head."

 -- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Credit: Agence France-Presse

Comments () | Archives (17)

This is just embarrassing.

I heard this on my way to work two weeks back and I just gagged.

I know posturing over sporting events isn't new to us(Arabs), but we just keep setting the bar lower and lower...and I can't help but wonder: If a fully-blooded Egyptian (working in Canada) couldn't hold back the urge to characterize this stand-off as "barbaric", what are Westerners supposed to think?

Cheers to us

to Frame Roland,

For your GOOGLE reference, remember 1993 :
"15 Oct 2009 ... February 28, 1993, Cairo, Egypt - Egypt 2 - 1 Zimbabwe. This match result was annulled due to crowd violence. It was replayed on neutral ..."

We never experienced this in Civilized Algeria. But this is your second sense of stupidity and ignorance in Cairo.

History do not make people(Human, if you are so), but people make history.

Burn in hell

Bin Safi , Even if it's true, why would you care about what the media say...! When you read the news, you analyze, agree, disagree or even ignoring it and laugh about it, it has nothing to do with acting violently, and certainly doesn't justify the violence, nor the attacks against the Algerian team(they did nothing wrong)/Fans in the Cairo Game under the supervision of the police escort, triggering all this Drama. The sanctions from the FIFA against Egypt are coming and hopefully they will make an example of this mascaraed so it doesn't happen again.

Do you have to beat everyone who say something you don't like, like Mubarak son's (And may be a future successor of his Dad) said:

"When you insult my dignity ... I will beat you on the head,"

This is what you do to the freedom of speech and democracy in Egypt?! Beat/stone people on the head if they say something you don't like!!!?

It won't surprise me anymore!

Don't you have more serious issues economic, regime, social, ... that you need to pay more attention to that what the news said and what it didn't say about a stupid soccer game?!

Its now more than three months that an anti Algerian media campaign started in Egypt. They have maybe around 50 TV channel but not a single serious journalist. As I said the story began many months back especially after Egypt got defeated in Algeria (3-1). Many times Algerian government tried to calm down by inviting Egyptian officials. These have been treated as traitor in their own country. The Epilogue was on November 14th when Algerian football tem was pelted by hundreds of “civilized” fanatics destroying the bus and causing serious injuries to four players. The Egyptian government did not protect Algerian team neither he did for Algerian fan after the mach lost by Algeria (2-0). Egyptian government instead to apologize for was happened, made up a fiction (Algerian players were accused having brook the windows and injured themselves). This version is still repeated in Egyptian Media despite many European media showing the attack from inside the bus. After the match Algerians have beaten humiliated and their mobiles/camcorders confiscated. The Orascom shops in Algiers have been actually damaged after the news on the pelting of their national team by their “brothers”. And All Algerian mobilized after hearing what happened after the match. In Sudan nothing really happened except some fighting between funs inducing minor injuries both sides by the way. Sudanese government is the one responsible for security their and he declared that only few injuries cased by fighting both sides. But Egyptian media started new campaign trying to convince the world that Egyptians funs are all angels ant that some barbarians invaded Sudan with knifes machetes ..etc. And you know what despite all of this, no one was killed and only 20 injuries found (Less than the number of Algerians injured in Cairo under Egyptian “Protection”). Now let’s come back to the facts:
Algerian players have been pelted and seriously injured in Egypt less than 24 hours before the match.
Algerian funs have been beaten, humiliated, maybe killed and their belonging confiscated by Egyptian police.
Algeria won the match and is officially qualified.
Fifa is opening a case against Egypt for Cairo Event and not Algeria.
Fifa thanked Sudan for the successful organization the match. And all we have concerning the alleged attacks of Egyptians by Algerians are phone calls which could be done from the TV studio it self. The same channel pretended that Algerian players broke the Bus windows and injured them self!!! While many journalist French doctor from the bus saw what happened and got videos. Now you want these same journalist begin to tell the truth. Common, take a glass of water and maybe you will swallow the defeat pill.
All the rest is blab la as we say in Algeria “Dogs brag and the caravan will go through anyway”
You are really miserable people Egyptians

"-- Amro Hassan in Cairo", with all my respect, but i'm sad that this article was written by an Egyptian based in Cairo. I would understand if this article was written by a foreigner or someone who is not living in Egypt, but as a journalist you should check for facts, cover all the different sides of the story when you are investigating. First, if you are based in cairo, the public prosecutor said that the Egyptians did not hurl stones at the Algerians and the windows were broken from inside
check these two sources, may be they might help:
Second, reading your article, you just mentioned Egyptians hurling stones at the Algerian players' bus (as they claim) and then Egyptian protesting in front of the Algerian embassy and making everything seem like Egyptians are doing this because they not accepting that the Algerians won the second match in Sudan. You just mentioned in a sentence or something that the Egyptians are claiming that the Algerians attacked them in Sudan. If you have been watching the television enough or even watched some of the videos the Egyptians shot in Sudan you might have got a better idea of what's going on. It has nothing to do with winning or losing the match, because they did not care about this. And, if you don't believe what the Egyptians who got back from Sudan are saying, then that's your own problem, because i know people who went there and they came back and said the exact same thing.. or you think it is some sort of a conspiracy against the Algerians because we are in denial of the score?

I have been following the unfair attacks on Egypt ever since the the 14th of november. None of the articles i have read so far mention anything about the show the algerians put well before their arrival in Cairo. The alleged attack on their bus was premeditated with some ketchup sauce.
I would like to refer all of you readers to the bloody history and present of Algeria. These are people that kill themselves even in their own villages ; there is another Saddam Hussein in Algeria, and no one is realizing that. Just look at the human rights situation there.
Look at what the algerians do in France, even if they win or lose they destroy private properties in a barbaric act. The UK has suufered also from those barbarians.
There is no way to compare Egypt the country of 5000 years of history and the barbaric undemocratic algeria which thanks to Egypt became something on the world map, and this something it does not deserve

And this is what they over a soccer match....and the world leaders are supposed to sit and talk peace to this Mubarak a lunatic dictator.
He could not hide his anger after seeing his country losing a soccer game. They have orchestrated violence against Algerian fans shortly after their arrival at Cairo airport.
Egyptians have gambled and lost, they have used every trick in the book to win the game, from intimidation to physical assault against Algerian players, but it all went wrong they never anticipated the play off in al Khartoum.Egypt never beat Algeria on a neutral ground .
When you seed wind you will harvest storm
Now the Egyptian government is going back to its usual business REPRESSION

To All Algerians- I pity you. If you think that this is all about the match- you’re wrong and it proves true what they say about Algerians. Egypt is and always will be a great nation! We are proud of our nation team; they don't throw stones; they win championships!
The only thing that came out of this game is that Algeria showed and proved its hatred and jealousy for Egypt and its people. It’s not about the game- it’s about the way Algerians acted and treated Egyptian fans before, during and after the game.

The Egyptian Fury and reactions are never because of the match result the Egyptian have long history of sports competition they are the African champions 6 times which is un preceded by any African nations and the are 2 time world cup qualifiers and they lost hundred times in football competitions. The reason for the reactions are:
1. Intentional Destruction and Demolishing of all Egyptian properties including Egypt air and Orascom telecom and Arab contractors company in the heart of the capital of Algeria with the support of Algerian police and government before the final game
2. Terrorizing the innocent and helpless Egyptians working in Algeria and their families by the Algerians.
3. Terrorizing the Egyptian fans with weapons and demolishing all the bus of the fans in their way to the airport
4. Attacking of the hotel of the Egyptian mission in Sudan by Algerian fans
5. Attacking the player's Bus in Sudan the day before the game
All these incidents are documental and witnessed by Sudanese police and people.
4. All these in addition to the planed and systematic humiliations and devaluations to all the symbols of Egypt by the Algerian Newspapers Al Chourok and Al Hadaf...etc in the last few months not at the time of the game (refer to the following link and the issues of the last 3 months daily
Please don't conclude that it is a reaction to match loss, this is longtime ago before the match

Egyptians in denial / Just ask those internatioal teams who played Egypt in Egypt. They all report the same intimadation and beating by the Egptian fans. Just check what happens in their own soccer leaague espically matches between Al Ahly and the Zamalik.

Hosni Moubarek is abusing his people and using soccer as another tool for his political planning...Enough for him, time to leave after 25 years...I am afraid for my brothers the Egyptians that their new leader may still have the same last name as the current one. A Monarchy is in the making in Egypt..

I would like to make one point clear, Egyptians' anger stems from the violent attacks of the Algerian fans (who were sent to Sudan by the Algerian government on board of Algerian Armed Forces planes, and who ALL held knives) against the innocent unarmed Egyptian fans, who flew to Sudan in peace to support their brave national team. Moreover, Egyptians are NOT angry for losing the game. On the contrary, WE, Egyptians are proud of our national team which has shown a strong sense of commitment, and above all, FAIR PLAY. We know all about sportsmanship, and we believe that winning the game is not what makes a champion. The demonstrations in front of the Algerian embassy n Cairo is simply to express the Egyptians' rage against the ATROCITIES COMMITTED BY THE ALGERIAN THUGS AGAINST INNOCENT EGYPTIAN FANS.

I tell Bin Safi, men you read to much news (how do you do it?), and you take things way to much seriously, I live in Algeria an didn't read these news,... even if this is true... it's the free speech thing and democracy. I follow more politics than sports, and I often saw the our president in funny and stupid newspaper caricatures, they call him all kind names... criticize him.... and it's ok... this is the press, the freedom of speech. what would happen of he get's worked up about it ...?

This may come as surprise to you, because of the current regime you have in your country. but what can I say (and I'm serious and not sarcastic), from the bottom of the heart I hope that you can enjoy democracy some day.

This is sad and nothing can justify this violence from both parties. Are we going to let a bunch of Hooligans tear apart two countries that had a long history of friendship? Don’t we have bigger things to worry about than a stupid soccer game? Yes I said stupid; because at this point it’s no longer sport, its hooliganism!!! We are giving the world a free circus show that is not funny for anyone!!! Sport is about fare-play and not this. And if this is what you think sport is, we don’t want it. Things need to go back the way they were.

I also want to send a message to the media, journalist and sport commentators/shows of both parties.
I say Shame on you for fueling hatred and promoting all this violence, between two sister nations. People look at you as their raw model, and you have the tools that you can use to set the peace, fare-play in people’s hearts, but you chose not to. You will have blood in your hands and you will have to answer for it, if not now (karma), it will be later (after life). So do something before it’s too late…!

One more message and I promise I will shut up.

This is directed the men and women who bears the uniforms, from both parties. I don’t have to remind you that you took an oath, to reinforce the law, and to protect your country from inside and outside harm. If you see hooligans, who are distorting things, harming people (humans), or their action will be causing serious issues for your country that may take serious and non reversible diplomatic or economic hit, you are to intervene, do your job and apply the law. You cannot just turn your backs.
For the people that want peace and I’m sure it’s the majority (Millions) compare to the minority of hooligans (hundreds/thousands), to be vigilant and report this kind of issues to the proper authorities.

Again Journalists/show-animators of the two countries, grew a conscious and do the right thing before it’s too late…!!!

God bless our two countries, all the Arabs, Muslims and the whole world.
We say no to violence, we say no to extremism, we definitively say no to hooliganism.
And yes to friendship, love and peace. \ /

This is sad and it’s the fault of journalists like Amar Adib (a hooligan in his twisted thoughts) who seeded hate and bad propaganda toward the Algerian in the Egyptians harts.
If we go back to the initial incident that started all this, and ask the Egyptian who through bricks at the Algerian team and fans why you did that, they will tell you that because they felt an overwhelming hatred toward the Algerian and they couldn’t control it. And as everyone knows, you get what you seed. If you seed hate you get hate. If you seed love you get love. Unfortunately Amar Adib and his kind seeded hate and provocation.
I tell Amr Adib, shame on you, the hate and the blood that was shed is on your hands, you have to answer for it before God, and you should answer for it before the people that were injured and may be KILLED.

See by yourselves, and wake up, soccer is not worth all this drama
See how the other Journalist trying to bring Amr Adib to reason!!!

OMG !! You have NO idea what so ever of what you're talking about, do you?

Riots in the streets and "nasty" international political row between both countries are NOT because Egypt didnt qualify to the world cup but for the Algerian violence before, during and after the match in Sudan..


The Sad & Sorry events of the past couple of weeks (to include the Cyber War), should serve as a Warning to the Decent (Vast) Majority of Algerians & Egyptians.

That the children of the two "Fraternal Nations" (who once stood Arm in Arm together in the Bloody War of Independence), could raise their Arms in Anger against their Brethren is surely an ominous Sign of the Times!

Now, in addition to Terrorism (inculding the State sponsored version), Oppression, Repression, Occupation & Invasion, they have to deal with this Hooliganism & Gangsterism.

Much as we would like, we shouldn't Blame the increasingly Hopeless People (especially the Youths) for acting out. It is the Leaders who should be held to account for this latest Fiasco. Stoking the Fires of this false Nationalism (Tribalism), was a Big Mistake that will come back to BITE them in the............

Peace, Love & Respect.

Before the qualifiers begin Egyptian Football Association reached out for the Algerians by turning out a court decree in absentia against the Algerian Lakhdar Beloumi who was accused of stabbing an Egyptian physician in the eye after losing the qualifiying game in 1989, the physician agreed to reconcile and it all went went. But the war all started by the Algerian media, after the July game in Blida, where the Algerians won their game against Egypt 3-1.

The Egyptian media focused its criticism on the National Squad of Egypt and it's coach, nothing was written against Algeria, they even neglected the fact that five players and two of the member of the staff of the Egyptian National team got food poisoning in Algeria including head coach Hassan Shehata, they didn't mention the abuses made by Algerian fans at the Stadium, or in front of the hotel of the Egyptian players, nothing was said. But then the Algerian media bombarded us with headlines such as "The Desert Foxes defeated the Gazans oppressors", "The Wrath of Allah falls again on the Pharaoh decedents" Algerian journalists dedicated series of articles on how Allah granted victory to real Muslims (Algerians) against traitors Masrael (a word play on Egypt+Israel). Photos of Egypt Head Coach Hassan Shehata wearing a wedding gown and married to Algerian Head coach Saadane was on All national Algerian newspapers front pages.

The Algerian media continued with abuse during Continental Cup when Egypt lost 3-0 to the USA, claiming Mubarak gave orders to the team to lose in order to solidify his relationship with Obama!!! The Algerians reached their peak of abuse after an Egyptian talk show host decided to talk back and said "I wish to God that Algerian go home sad", the Algerian media retaliated with the worst of words against all Egyptian, calling Egypt a nation of belly-dancers, traitors and Israeli watchdogs.

Then the feud reached boiling points between the nations media and between the nations youth over the net! Till the 14th of November, when a bunch of Egyptian hooligans broke through a tight security barricades surrounding the Algerian team bus and throw flares at the bus. The Algerian players reacted by breaking the glasses of the bus and only two players were self-injured... it was all documented by videos shot by trespassers and photos clearly showing the bus glass is broken on the opposite as if someone from inside broke it. The Algerian media amplified the incident as if the Egyptian fans threw nukes at the bus and called for retaliation after their team lost 2-0 in Cairo. During the Cairo game videos shows Algerian fans provoking Egyptian fan by giving them fingers and cursing which resulted in small clashes outside the stadium with few fans from both sides are injured.

The Algerian Media the next morning showed photos of caskets of 13 coffins said they were of Algerians fans killed in Cairo, a rumor their Ambassador denied. But they repeated the rumors of death again until Algerians attacked and ransacked Egyptian Businesses all around Algeria especially the shops of the biggest mobile operator their Orascom Telecom at the attack on Egyptian employees is still going on till this day.

The Play-off game in Sudan witnessed Algerian "fans" arriving on DC -130 Algerian Airforce planes, buying swords and knives from shops in Khartoum... Egyptian team bus was stoned in retaliation, after Algerians won the game they spread in the Sudanese streets attacking everything Egyptian even Sudanese fans carrying Egyptian flags with knives, stones, numbers of Egyptian fans seriously injured including artists, singers, politicians who came in support of the Egyptian team. Fans buses were destroyed. Egyptian fleed to the Khartoum airport but Algerians followed there until the Sudanese guards reacted against them. It was an obvious organized attack against the Egyptian fans by the Algerian government! The Sudanese events documented by photos, videos including a video confession by an Algerian assailant you can contact me for these material if you want.


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