Relatives of victims in Cairo react after 21 people were sentenced to death over the football riot in Port Said that killed more than 70 people last year. Ahmed Mahmoud / AFP
Relatives of victims in Cairo react after 21 people were sentenced to death over the football riot in Port Said that killed more than 70 people last year. Ahmed Mahmoud / AFP

31 killed in Egypt clashes over death sentences for football fans



PORT SAID, EGYPT // At least 31 people were killed today in violence that erupted after 21 Egyptian football fans and club members were sentenced to death for a deadly post-match riot in Port Said last year.

More than 200 people were also injured, state television reported, citing the health ministry.

The military was deployed to the Mediterranean city after two policemen were shot dead outside the city's main prison when angry relatives tried to storm the facility to free the defendants on trial, security officials said.

Protesters stormed two police stations, Al Sharq and Al Arab, a witness said, and heavy gunfire could also be heard in the Al Manakh neighbourhood.

The clashes began after a Cairo court handed down the death sentences over the football riot last February in which 74 people were killed, and came a day after violence swept Egypt on the second anniversary of its uprising.

As news of the verdict emerged, relatives of those condemned tried to storm the prison where they are being held, leading to fierce clashes with security forces.

Unidentified assailants used automatic weapons against police who responded with tear gas, witnesses said.

Troops are being sent to Port Said, a senior army officer said.

"It has been decided to deploy some units to work for calm and stability and the protection of public establishments," General Ahmed Wasfi said.

Medics said the death toll in the Port Said clashes climbed to eight, but it was not immediately clear if that included the two policemen.

Shops closed and armoured personnel vehicles were deployed as fighting raged in some streets around the prison.

In Cairo, both inside and outside court, there were explosions of joy. Women ululated, relatives hugged and shouted "Allahu Akbar".

One man who lost his son in the Port Said clashes wept outside the court, telling AFP: "I am satisfied with the verdict."

Another, Hassan Mustafa, had pinned a picture of his dead friend to his chest and said he was pleased with the verdict, but wanted "justice served for those who planned the killing".

Last February's riots between fans of home side Al Masry and Cairo's Al Ahly also sparked days of violent protests in Cairo, in which another 16 people were killed.

Many Egyptians believe the violence was orchestrated either by the police or by supporters of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

The Cairo court has handed its verdict to Egypt's top cleric for his final opinion, as is customary, and set March 9 for delivering verdicts on another 52 defendants, including police officers.

* With additional reporting by Associated Press

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos