Egypt: 31 Dead In Port Said And Suez In Riots

 @MayaErgas
on January 26 2013 1:47 PM
Protestors in Port Said, Egypt
Al Ahly fans, known as “Ultras”, celebrate and shout slogans in front of the Al Ahly club after hearing the final verdict of the 2012 Port Said massacre in Cairo January 26, 2013. An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced to death 21 people found guilty of involvement in the Port Said soccer stadium disaster in which 74 people died last year. Seventy-three people have been charged with involvement in the February 1, 2012 disaster at the end of a match between Cairo’s Al Ahly and al-Masry, the local side. Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Seven people were killed on Friday, and Egypt once again found itself embroiled in riots marking the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution against former President Hosni Mubarak.

Six were reported dead in Suez and one in Ismailiya, Voice of America reported. Nationwide, the Health Ministry said that 450 protesters and 100 police officers in total were injured.

In Cairo, thousands of protesters stood against police overnight from Friday to Saturday, CNN said

In Suez, to the east of Cairo, at least one government building was set ablaze. Armed forces were deployed to Suez early Saturday to reinstate calm.

Another 26 were reported dead and 200 wounded in Port Said, north of Suez on Saturday, after the court in the city released a long-awaited verdict in the case of 21 people who were charged with the deaths of 79 people in a riot after a football game last year, the LA Times reported

52 more people were also arrested in connection with the riots and are still awaiting sentencing, which will happen on March 9, Reuters said. 

The verdict for all 21 people was the death sentence, the announcement of which incited a clash between angry relatives of the defendants and security forces at the prison. 

At least two of the 26 killed were police officers, state TV reported, and CBS reported that security officials were killed in clashes outside the prison, courthouse and the governor's office. Military forces were also deployed in Port Said.

The riot in question, which happened in February 2012, happened after a football match between rival teams in Port Said. The Al-Masry soccer club from Port Said faced off against the Ahly soccer team from Cairo, and it defeated the Cairo team three to one. After the game, Al-Masry fans attacked the Ahly fans, called "Ultras," and the team players with stones, bottles and other weapons. Seventy-nine people died and thousands were injured in the riots.

The simultaneous riots in multiple cities emboldened the opposition party in the Egyptian Assembly, the National Salvation Front, to attempt seize the moment and blame President Morsi for the unrest. As protesters shouted anti-Morsi slogans in Tahrir square, the National Salvation Front said on TV that they were "holding Morsi responsible for the disturbances."

"Egypt will not regain its balance except by a political solution that is transparent and credible, by a government of national salvation to restore order and heal the economy and with a constitution for all Egyptians," Mohamed ElBaradei, one of the leaders of the opposition, said on Twitter.

Morsi appealed for calm after Friday's violence, but he warned that he would "pursue the criminals and deliver them to justice."

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