Deadly clashes continue in Egypt over football sentence
At least 30 people have been killed in Port Said, Egypt as clashes against police continue, fuelled by death sentences handed down to 21 football fans over riots early last year.
Supporters of those sentenced attempted to break into the prison holding the defendants and two police officers were shot dead. Police stations were also stormed, and a state security building was set alight.
The military have been sent to the streets in armoured personnel carriers, and curfews are now being considered by Egypt’s national defence council to curtail further violence.
The sentences were handed down by a Cairo court on Saturday to al-Masry football team supporters who attacked visiting al-Ahly fans and team members during a match on February 1st last year.
A total of 74 people were killed when al-Masry supporters initiated the fighting before storming the pitch. Many victims died of suffocation and concussion in a stampede for the exits.
There have since been allegations of police complicity due to a lack of intervention during the stadium clashes, other than to turn off the arena lights.
Saturday’s violence came after a day of anti-government rallies in Cairo’s Tahir Square, on the second anniversary of Egypt’s uprising. Islamist President Mohammed Morsi has been widely criticised for betraying the revolution with his increasingly autocratic style of governing and rushed constitution.
The death sentences are yet to be confirmed and are expected to be appealed. A further 52 defendants will be sentenced in March.
Lucy Cait Jordan