Saturday, 1 April, 2023

Doha station closed for hour amid World Cup crowd surge

Doha station closed for hour amid World Cup crowd surge

DOHA--Police shut doors into Doha's main metro station for an hour amid a surge of thousands of people just ahead of Sunday's World Cup final.

Witnesses said station security could not cope with the sudden crowds at the Msheireb station, a busy interchange where three metro lines meet.

Station staff tried to restrict people entering with crowd barriers but groups broke through causing the surge inside, witnesses said. The doors were then ordered closed.

"There were just suddenly hundreds of people trying to get down the steps to the platforms. It was scary but I did not see anyone hurt," said Fatima Ismael, who came out with her two children as hundreds grouped around entrance doors.

Many of the crowds were fans trying to get trains to fan zones with giant screens set up for the match between Argentina and France. Thousands of people wore Argentina shirts for the day.

The station re-opened an hour later and although it was crowded, passengers were moving towards their trains, an AFP reporter said.

Traffic jams built up around Doha and big crowds were also reported around the 88,000 capacity Lusail stadium where the final was to start at 6.00pm (1500 GMT).