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The BBC's Rachael Payne
"Many of those injured say the police overreacted"
 real 56k

Steve Vickers, Zimbabwean sports journalist
"There were some rather irrational reactions from the police"
 real 28k

The BBC's Grant Ferrett hears fans' reactions
"What the police did to us was inhuman - it wasn't about football, it was about politics"
 real 28k

Sunday, 9 July, 2000, 21:31 GMT 22:31 UK
Zimbabwe football riot kills 12
Child and fans
Two fans wash teargas from the face of a child who lost his parents
A stampede at a World Cup football match in Harare has killed 12 people.

Police fired tear gas when the crowd started throwing missiles onto the pitch, after South Africa had scored a second goal against Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe crowd
Fans tried to escape as police fired teargas

Fans at the match had been chanting opposition slogans, taunting police with the open-handed salute of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Some at the game suggested that the police had overreacted because they were irritated by the pro-MDC chants.

Most of the deaths were from internal injuries consistent with being crushed, a doctor said.

Players writhed on the turf, choking and covering their faces in an attempt to get away from the tear gas.

The trouble comes just days after South Africa lost out by one vote to Germany for the right to host the World Cup in 2006.

Match abandoned

South Africa had just gone 2-0 up in the 84th minute when the trouble erupted.

South African player
A South African player recovers from the effects of the teargas

Delron Buckley had just scored his second goal when he fell to the ground holding his injured left ankle, and bottles began to fly on to the pitch.

Police responded by firing teargas canisters into the near-capacity 60,000 crowd, who raced to the exits.

The match was abandoned, as players from both teams lay face down on the pitch, and received treatment from medical personnel before being escorted from the pitch.

Officials at the ground were outraged by the police action, describing their response as "total over-reaction".

Football's governing body, Fifa, will have to decide what action to take after receiving a report from the match commissioner.

The game was abandoned, with South Africa officially declared the winners.


Former England striker John Fashanu was at the game and was very unhappy with the reaction by the police.

South Africa football
South Africa (in white) won the match 2-0

"It's been a bad week for African football. First South Africa losing the World Cup bid, and now this.

"The police over-reacted, very stupidly. We didn't need this to happen. Football in Africa is a passion, a carnival.

"The bottle-throwing and then the police over-reacting the way they did - it was too terrible. They were very poor in their crowd control.

"Africa must wake up, we need to show the world that Africa has grown up," Fashanu said.

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See also:

09 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
England bid a non-starter - Hoey BBC Sport >>
09 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
Under-fire Fifa rep resigns
04 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
Mandela boosts SA's 2006 bid BBC Sport >>
06 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
Why South Africa's Cup bid failed BBC Sport >>
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