Football Ruling Sparks Egypt Clashes
26 Jan 2013 01:18 GMT
 

CAIRO - Two policemen and eight other people were killed on Saturday, January 26, in violence that erupted in the Mediterranean city of Port Said after 21 people were sentenced to death for their role in Egypt's worst-ever so (more)

CAIRO - Two policemen and eight other people were killed on Saturday, January 26, in violence that erupted in the Mediterranean city of Port Said after 21 people were sentenced to death for their role in Egypt's worst-ever soccer tragedy.

“God is greatest,” one relative of a victim in the court shouted, Reuters reported.

“I am satisfied with the verdict,” another man who lost his son in the Port Said clashes told Agence France Presse (AFP) as he wept outside the court.

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Hearing the verdict, there were explosions of joy both inside and outside the court in Cairo.

Women ululated, relatives hugged and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest).

Outside Al Ahly club in Cairo, hardcore fans of Al-Ahly club known as the Ultras also cheered.

Fans had threatened fresh violence unless the death penalty was meted out.

The court has now handed the verdict to the country's top cleric for his final opinion. Executions in Egypt must be authorized by the Grand Mufti.

A year ago, 74 people were killed and 1000 injured in the country's worst sports disaster after football fans invaded the pitch in the Port Said, after local team al-Masry beat visitors from Cairo, Al Ahli, Egypt's most successful club.

The February 1st violence in Port Said sparked riots in Cairo during which a further 16 people died.

The sentences come after a day of clashes in Cairo marking the revolution's second anniversary left at least seven people dead and 456 injured.

Clashes

The ruling caused anger in Port Said, where ten people, including two policemen, died as supporters of the defendants clashed with police.

Following the ruling, residents rampaged through the streets in anger that people from their city had been blamed.

Gunshots were reported near the prison where most of the convicted men are being held.

One security source reported 11 killed in the violence, while two other sources put Saturday's toll at 12. At least two of the dead were policemen.

A witness said some men stormed two police stations in the city.

Armored vehicles and military police were deployed on the streets of the Mediterranean city.

The state news agency quoted a general as saying the military was sent to “establish calm and stability in Port Said and to protect public institutions”.

Despite clashes flaring in Port Said and Suez, officials confirmed that shipping through Egypt's Suez Canal was proceeding as normal on Saturday.

"Shipping movement through the Suez Canal is regular and is going ahead positively," canal spokesman Tarek Hassanein told Reuters, adding 44 ships had entered the canal so far on Saturday.

One witness reported that the army, which was deployed to Port Said, at the northern end of the canal, had sent troops to surround the branch office of the canal authority in the city.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net



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