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Cablegate: Algeria: Soccer Violence Aftermath

VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAS #1018 3210656
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 170656Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8113
INFO RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1258
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM PRIORITY 0012
RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ALGIERS 001018

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/MAG - NARDI, NEA/EX
STATE ALSO FOR DS/IP/NEA, DS/IP/ITA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PINS AG EG SU
SUBJECT: ALGERIA: SOCCER VIOLENCE AFTERMATH

REF: ALGIERS 1011

1. (SBU) Summary: Unconfirmed reports that Algerian fans
were injured and killed in attacks in Cairo November 14
following a soccer match between the two countries' national
teams have led to public gatherings and some violence.
Embassy has no GOA confirmation of deaths among Algerian fans
in Cairo. A crowd of several hundred marched past an Embassy
residence on their way to the Egyptian Embassy November 15
but never threatened USG facilities. Most of the crowds were
peaceful, but small groups have attacked Egyptian businesses
in the capital. Embassy is under no threat. A November 10
Embassy EAC decision to warn Embassy personnel to exercise
proactive caution and a November 14 warden message warning
Amcits to take heightened security precautions remain in
effect. End summary.

2. (SBU) Algiers is abuzz with reports of injuries to and
deaths of Algerian fans in Cairo following the November 14
Algeria-Egypt World Cup qualifying match. The claimed death
toll given in November 16 press reports ranges from one to
twelve; reported numbers of injured vary from twenty to over
one hundred. One press report says the consular section of
the Algerian Embassy in Cairo confirmed one death; others say
the Algerian Ambassador in Cairo has denied any Algerian
fatalities. Embassy has no GOA confirmation of any deaths.

3. (SBU) The match, which Egypt won 2-0 but which will be
followed by a runoff match in Sudan November 18, has
generated a stream of emotional reporting in the Algerian
press. Press commentary is indignant about the treatment of
Algerians, the alleged complicity of Egyptian authorities,
and the lack of an adequate reaction by Algerian authorities.
There are reports that Air Algerie is issuing cut-price
tickets for Algerians to fly to Khartoum to attend the
November 18 game.

4. (SBU) A group of protestors estimated at 6-700 persons was
spotted at approximately 2130 November 15 in the area of Val
d' Hydra, approximately 1.5 miles from the Egyptian embassy.
The crowd was dispersed by local police forces, and then
split into two separate groups, one of which marched past a
24-unit Embassy residence on their way to the Egyptian
Embassy. A third group of protestors of undertermined size
was already posted at the Egyptian Embassy. Protestors at no
time targeted the American residence or the nearby U.S.
Embassy. RSO police sources report street disturbances and
small fires during the day November 16 in the downtown
Didouche Mourad shopping area. They also report that
Egyptians in Algiers have been advised to stay home. Press
reports on November 16 note that several retail offices of
Algeria's largest private wireless communications provider,
Egyptian-owned Djezzy, were ransacked. Embassy knows of one
other small Egyptian business that was attacked. There are
reports that one Egyptian national was injured in an attack
and hospitalized.

5. (SBU) RSO kept Embassy community informed via text message
of the course of events throughout the evening of November
15-16. Following EAC held November 10 (reftel), RSO warned
Embassy personnel to exercise proactive personal security
after the November 14 game. Following reports that an
Algerian team bus was attacked in Cairo November 13, injuring
three players, Embassy issued a warden message November 14
warning American citizens to avoid the area around the
Egyptian Embassy, where crowds had gathered, and generally to
stay away from large public gatherings. That warden message
remains in effect.

6. (SBU) Embassy will continue to monitor the situation and
assess post security posture in the leadup to, and following,
the November 18 rematch in Sudan.
PEARCE

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