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Egypt Football Verdict Sparks Deadly Clashes

Egyptian soccer fans of Al-Ahly football club celebrate in front of their club premises in Cairo, Egypt, January 26, 2013.
Egyptian soccer fans of Al-Ahly football club celebrate in front of their club premises in Cairo, Egypt, January 26, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
Egyptian authorities say at least 30 people have been killed in violence that erupted in the coastal city of Port Said, after a court handed down death sentences over last year's deadly football riot.  Army enforcements are being deployed to the area to restore order.

Clashes broke out Saturday between relatives of those sentenced to death and police guarding the prison where those convicted are being held.  The violence spread with reports of rival groups of football fans firing live rounds at each other and police.

Reinforcements from Egypt's Second Army were ordered into the city to prevent further clashes. Egyptian state TV reported that a curfew was being imposed to calm the situation. Fans known, as ultras, were said to be blocking the city's main railway station.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi cancelled a planned trip to Ethiopia, meeting instead with his security cabinet to discuss violence across the country.

Saturday's clashes erupted after Judge Sobhi Abdel Meguid read out his verdict convicting 21 of 74 defendants to death in a 2012 Port Said football stadium riot that killed 74 people.

Judge Abdel Meguid tried to restore order in the court, after families of those killed in the stampede interrupted sentencing to applaud the verdict. The judge noted that Egypt's grand mufti will now review the death sentences before they are carried out. Fifty-two other defendants will be sentenced on March 9.

Fans of Cairo's top-ranking al Ahly soccer team who had travelled to Port Said to hear the verdict chanted in approval along a street facing the court house. Many Ahly fans were among the victims of the 2012 stampede. Rival Port Said fans protested the verdict on another street.

In Cairo, ultras and other young hooligans clashed intermittently with security forces off of Tahrir Square near the interior ministry and facing Egypt's parliament building. Young men threw stones and police lobbed occasional rounds of tear gas at demonstrators.

Hundreds of protesters remained in the square for a second day of protests against the government Saturday. Several dozen protesters were also camped out in tents in the center of the square, where huge crowds had marked the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

Political leaders from Egypt's opposition National Salvation Front held a news conference Saturday calling for further demonstrations next Friday to protest a controversial constitution approved last month. The front is also demanding that a new unity government be formed.

“To form a national salvation government, which enjoys efficiency and credibility, in order to fulfill the demands of the revolution.....after the policies of the president and his government over the last few months have led to the deterioration of the living standards of Egyptians,” a spokesman said.

Other opposition demands include: formation of an independent committee to investigate violence against protesters, appointment of a new general prosecutor, and a boycott of parliamentary elections set for April if its demands are not met.

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by: Anonymous
January 27, 2013 12:08 AM
U.S. just messed it up Egypt.. Like they did in Iran. Like they will in Syria (over throwing a secular government and bringing the extremists to power)

In Response

by: Jacob from: United States of America
January 29, 2013 11:29 AM
You are 100% right. The US has been meddling in the Middle East ever since the 20th century. Seriously, Americans should've listened to Ron Paul and took their hands off of the Middle East. Arab Socialist secular dictators like Gaddafi are one thing, but Islamists are another. (Think bin Ladin).


by: ali baba from: new york
January 26, 2013 5:49 PM
When Mubarak was a president ,Egypt was the safest country. Mubarak is gone and country rule by Muslim brotherhood, .The country turn into war zone. moersi has no clue to keep the country. safe. .welcome to Egypt anarchy .welcome to Egypt Sudan civil war. welcome to the middle east democracy which American policy maker dream with it. Egyptian democracy turn to Islamic dictatorship which put the country into chaos

In Response

by: Jacob from: United States of America
January 29, 2013 11:31 AM
Mubarak was about as much a dictator as Sarkozy or Obama is. Seriously. Morsi and the military run down people all of the time and Mubarak just sat in his office. Don't you recognize the difference in this case?

In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
January 27, 2013 8:22 PM
Mubarak was a good president. the alternative for Mubarak is a chaos and economic crisis is deepen.. The alternative to Mubarak is Islamic state which proven for its failure to attack the Egypt problem such as poverty. the rise of psychopath imam .one want destroy the pyramids. and second with Pepsi fiasco . .and third want declare war with Israel . that imam does not that war could have serious impact and put the last nail in Egypt coffin

In Response

by: Hatem Zaki from: Egypt
January 27, 2013 5:16 AM
Mr.ali baba
I think u should know that Mubarak made a fatal mistakes .he was a dictator .he turned Egypt into police-state. the result was the revolution .there is no revolution come from zero .no future for any ruler uses his Iron grip against his people


by: Hasan from: Egypt
January 26, 2013 5:44 PM
this violence is along lines of tribal affiliations and sectarian hatreds. we have no government in Egypt.

In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
January 26, 2013 8:55 PM
you are right . There is no Gov. in Egypt .the Gov. has not addressed the economic problem .before the revolution ,Muslim brotherhood convince the illiterate Egyptian that once they will be in power ,the country will be in heaven because they are devoted Muslim and corruption will vanish ,once they are in power ,the country turn into chaos . they lie and moersi caught of telling lie about he was employed to NASA


by: Anonymous
January 26, 2013 3:51 PM
the truth here is that there is no "Government" in Egypt... Egypt's Arabs are a collection of sectarian hatreds and tribal affiliations... its really no different from all other Arab "nation" - which grotesquely enough are not Nations at all.
The Arabs conquest of Egypt is of a fairly recent vintage. Did you know that Egypt was Christian before the depredation of Islam?? not many do...
the point here is that the "West" should not cuddle the venomous snake that is the Muslim Brotherhood in hope of "stability" - stability is not to be... Obama is to Egypt what Carter was to Iran... and one more thing... to the "West"... if you please, do not think that you can "disengage" from the malevolence of Islam... it is going to get much much worse for you... you will have to confront it...

In Response

by: Jacob from: United States of America
January 29, 2013 11:35 AM
Wrong again! Egypt isn't Arab. It's Egyptian. Mubarak, Sadat and Abdel Nasser made up the "Arab Republic" myth. Although your proceeding points are spot on. The Middle East was Christendom before it was conquered by the imperial Islamic Caliphate. Obama is to Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and Libya to what Carter was to Iran. Viva Misr. Free Medina! (Which was JEWISH before Islam!) also Perseopolis (which is PERSIAN, not "Arab" or Muslim)


by: yrr from: usa
January 26, 2013 3:49 PM
The soccer rivals' energy should be spent on building two new pyramids taller than the old ones. I think the Pharaohs kept their people busy with work for a good reason, to maintain the peace.

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