VIDEO: Conspiracy theories run deep over cause of deadly Egypt soccer riot
As the world tries to make sense of the Egypt soccer riot that claimed 74 lives and wounded hundreds more, Egyptians were angry that the police allowed such a riot to happen. Many are wondering if there was another motive, a conspiracy, behind it.
Egypt is in an uproar right now as protesters take to the street over officials' failure to stop a riot that turned deadly at a soccer match Wednesday night.
According to the BBC, some 10,000 protesters have taken to the streets in Cairo demanding officials be held accountable for failing to stop the violence. So far, the governor of Port Said, where the riot occurred, has resigned, as have senior officials from the national soccer association. Two senior security officials were suspended and are being held in custody, the BBC said.
At least 74 people died in the riots, which injured more than a thousand others. As angry protesters converged on the interior ministry in Cairo, police responded with tear gas, injuring more.
"At the same time, a very lively debate has been going on inside the newly elected parliament, where the prime minister, Kamal al-Ganzouri, has announced they've sacked the complete board of the Egyptian (soccer) association," said John Leyne, a BBC correspondent in Cairo.
Leyne said no one is likely to be satisfied by those moves. Many Egyptians are criticizing, at the very least, the incompetence of security forces who allowed this deadly riot to happen. There are some who believe this was a conspiracy, Leyne said.
"Egyptian football fans are violent, they do have confrontations and these two teams have a long and bitter rivalry," Leyne said. "But to start with, there simply weren't enough police at the ground and they weren't well-enough equipped. We've all seen television pictures of police looking hapless and bewildered in the middle of the ground while the conflict began."
But the conspiracy theorists run much deeper, including some who think the entire episode was a setup — and not even team supporters who rushed the field.
"It's not so outlandish," Leyne said. "The ultras (extreme Egyptian fans) have been very active politically, they've been at the forefront of the demonstrations. They've been often involved in conflicts with police."
Consequently, some say, there was a revenge motivation. On the other hand, some in the Muslim Brotherhood suspect the military fomented the riot, in order to better argue that the country could not be secure without strong military leadership. Or that a return to the old regime is necessary to hold the country together, Leyne said.
Even more broadly, though, Leyne said the police inaction reflects a wider sense of paralysis among institutions across Egypt right now.
"The government has been paralyzed. The military, who have taken control of the country, and the civilian governments, the very weak civilian governments they've appointed underneath them, have not been willing to make any of the tough decisions that need to be taken," Leyne said. "Whether it's sorting out the economy or sorting out the interior ministry, who run the police."
The country is running on auto-pilot, a faulty auto-pilot, Leyne said.
"The Takeaway" is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what's ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH Radio Boston.