A trial of 61 men accused of involvement in an Egyptian soccer stampede that left 74 dead was suspended briefly today.

Tensions were high as families of the dead and accused faced each other for the first time with many crying as the charges were read out.

The defendants who were in cages at the side of the court room deny any role in the stadium stampede in Port Said in February at a match between home side Al-Masry and visiting team Al-Ahly.

Fans of Al-Ahly accused the Interior Ministry of deliberately causing the disaster in revenge for their role in toppling Mubarak and their continued hostility to an unreformed police force.

A parliamentary inquiry blamed fans and shoddy policing for the deaths and the head of state security in Port Said was fired along with the board of the Egyptian Football Association.