Day Earlier than FIFA World Cup, Qatar Faces Overcrowding Troubles

Day Earlier than FIFA World Cup, Qatar Faces Overcrowding Troubles


DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Authorities turned away 1000’s of followers Saturday night time from a live performance celebrating the World Cup starting the subsequent day in Qatar, revealing the challenges forward for Doha because it tries to handle crowds in FIFA’s most-compact event ever.Disenchanted followers took being turned away largely in stride. Exterior the venue, Qatari police, safety guards and others guided the 1000’s away with big foam fingers, bullhorns and blinking site visitors management wands.However the overflowing live performance comes earlier than the remainder of the 1.2 million followers anticipated on the event arrive on this tiny nation on the Arabian Peninsula.And with Qatar deciding solely Friday to ban beer gross sales from event stadiums, fan zones just like the one on the corniche internet hosting the live performance would be the solely FIFA-associated space serving pints — that means extra followers might wind up there.“We all know that what the police say right here goes,” stated a 30-year-old trucker from Mumbai, who declined to provide his title for concern of reprisals. He and his associates had obtained a uncommon day without work from Hamad Port to stroll 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) to the fan zone earlier than being turned away.“We’re unhappy to depart as a result of it’s too early,” he added. “There’s nothing we are able to do.”On this picture from video, Qatari police stand by on horseback as different safety officers attempt to management a crowd at a FIFA Fan Zone forward of the World Cup in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. Authorities turned away 1000’s of followers Saturday night time from a live performance celebrating the World Cup starting the subsequent day in Qatar, revealing the challenges forward for Doha because it tries to handle crowds in FIFA’s most-compact event ever. (AP Picture/Srdjan Nedeljkovic)Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Supply and Legacy, which oversees the World Cup, stated in a press release to The Related Press it was “completely delighted” with the opening of the Fan Zone.“The occasion reached its capability of 40,000 individuals, … an indication of its success and recognition,” the committee stated.Qatar, dwelling to three million individuals, will see its inhabitants swell because the event begins. It has spent over $200 billion for enhancements throughout this energy-rich nation barely bigger than Jamaica.That features a huge new underground metro system that may whisk followers from the airport to matches. It has even closed faculties for the month and urged residents to earn a living from home.However AP journalists have seen pinch factors the place an amazing variety of individuals will be bunched collectively even earlier than the event begins.In Doha’s Souq Waqif, a significant vacationer vacation spot, a walkway between out of doors eating places shortly stuffed shoulder to shoulder Friday night time. Its close by metro station noticed lengthy traces, with some pushing and shoving between orderlies and people taking the prepare.Followers crowd the FIFA Fan Competition web site in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. Authorities turned away 1000’s of followers Saturday night time from a live performance celebrating the World Cup starting the subsequent day in Qatar, exhibiting the challenges forward for Doha because it tries to handle crowds in FIFA’s most-compact event ever. (AP Picture/Jon Gambrell)Saturday night time, nevertheless, began a lot smoother as Friday is the necessary day without work for all employees within the nation. Fewer individuals stolled the corniche as an enormous fireworks present all of the sudden went off, illuminating Doha’s glittering skyline to awed passersby.Simply after 8 p.m., nevertheless, crowds thronged the Fan Zone, hoping to attend a live performance that includes Lebanese singer Myriam Fares and Colombian singer Maluma. However as a whole lot squeezed inside a holding pen, 1000’s extra waited outdoors the venue.At one exit, the gang tried to argue its method inside, with a number of spectators slipping previous guards. At an entrance, one safety guard with a bullhorn pleaded with the gang: “On your security, please return!”AP journalists noticed police on horseback at one level within the fan holding space, in addition to one armored police car parked outdoors close by. Some attendees jumped over obstacles and Qatari police at one level held again the gang.Nonetheless, some guests stayed and waited, hoping for an opportunity to get in, like Ayman Awad, a geologist who flew to Qatar on Saturday from Sudan.“I received’t hand over,” Awad stated. “I hope it doesn’t keep this crowded.”Many overseas followers, conscious of Qatar’s restrictions on free speech, had been cautious of criticizing the host nation as they waited. A bunch of Saudi vacationers who expressed disappointment on the state of affairs to an AP journalist later retracted their quotes for concern of wading into “politics.”The Fan Zone at Al Bidda Park plans different main live shows as properly throughout the event. But it surely has taken on new prominence after Friday’s determination to ban alcohol gross sales at stadiums: It will likely be one of many few locations outdoors of resort bars and personal residences the place followers can have a drink whereas partying on this conservative Islamic nation.On Saturday night time, a fast set of calls to a number of bars in Doha’s West Bay, an space filled with high-end accommodations, discovered that each one had been totally booked the night time earlier than the event because the Fan Zone was shut.But the true take a look at will start Sunday, as Ecuador faces Qatar within the opening match and the group stage follows behind — with the crowds to come back.

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