Attack: More than 13,000 home fans, armed with knives, iron bars and machetes, to storm the pitch and attack rival Al-Ahly players and their 1,200 supporters

An Egyptian court today sentenced 21 people  to death after they were involved in a riot following a football match in which  74 people were killed.

The controversial verdict prompted further  bloodshed, as 27 people were killed during reactionary riots outside the Mediterranean city of Port Said’s main  jail today.

The unrest is part of a wave of violence that  has swept Egypt, leaving a total of 38 people dead in two days.

Today, Britain called for ‘maximum restraint’ and strongly  condemned the violence.

Attack: More than 13,000 home fans, armed with knives, iron bars and machetes, to storm the pitch and attack rival Al-Ahly players and their 1,200 supporters

On Friday, 11 people were killed in clashes  between  police and protesters who were marking the second anniversary of the  uprising that overthrew longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

President Mohammed Morsi canceled a  scheduled trip to Ethiopia Saturday and instead met for the first time  with  top generals as part of the newly formed National Defense Council.

The violence in Port Said followed  the court  decision when angry relatives of those sentenced tried to  storm the prison to  free the defendants, shooting dead two police  officers, according to  reports.

Egyptian security officials said the military  had been deployed to the city,  where most of those sentenced are from, as  police became embroiled in  violent clashes with protestors.

Officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at  those demonstrating, who feel aggrieved that they are shouldering the blame for  the riots.

The violence during the match last year was  the world’s worst football related disaster in 15 years.

Fans of Al-Ahly, whose stands were  attacked  by rival club Al-Masry in the  Mediterranean city of Port Said, had promised  more violence if the  accused did not receive death sentences.

Families of the those killed during the  disorder wailed in the courtroom as the judge gave the sentence, while some  shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ – Arabic for God is great

One man fainted, while others wailed and  cried in disbelief as they carried pictures of the young men killed in the  soccer riot.

The judge said in his statement, read  live  on state TV, that he would announce the verdict for the remaining  52 defendants  at a later date.

While many of those on trial included alleged  football hooligans, nine security officials also face charges.

The death sentences will be sent to a top  religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for approval, as  is customary in Egypt.

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said  the violence which has been seen in the past two days ‘can have no place in a  truly democratic Egypt’.

‘I am deeply concerned by reports of violent  clashes resulting in a  number of deaths and injuries, following demonstrations  to mark the  second anniversary of the 25 January revolution and the verdict in  the  Port Said court case today,’ he said.

‘This cannot help the process of dialogue  which we encourage as vital  for Egypt today, and we must condemn the violence  in the strongest  terms.

Source: The Daily Mail


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here