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31 killed in Clashes Over Court Verdict in Egypt's Port Said


CAIRO, Jan. 27, 2013 (Xinhua) --

As many as 31 people were killed and 322 others injured in clashes in Egypt's Port Said over a football riot verdict that sentenced 21 people to death, according to the figure reported on Sunday.

Street clashes erupted between the security forces and the family members of the 21 convicts outside the Port Said prison, after a criminal court in Cairo handed down the verdict over the riot, which killed more than 70 people following a football match last February.

Crowds of people stormed two police stations. Some of them used automatic weapons against policemen, who responded with tear gas in a bid to disperse them.

In addition to the deaths, 17 people were seriously wounded, including 15 civilians and two police officers, official news agency MENA said, adding that they were transferred by a military helicopter to hospitals in Cairo.

The violence came one day after the demonstrations marking the second anniversary of the Jan.-25 revolt. Friday's protests killed nine people, who were among the demonstrators flooding main squares across the country to protest the new constitution and the Muslim Brotherhood's control over the country's institutions.

Main hotels in Cairo closed their doors in fears of gas tears and flying rocks hurting their visitors. Also, the U.S. embassy in Cairo closed its public services due to nearby clashes.

Meanwhile, several opposition parties called on their facebook pages for more protests on Monday, dubbed "angry Monday" after the funerals of the dead killed during the previous clashes, in a bid to urge forming a salvation government and amending the constitution.

On his twitter account, leader of MB's party Mohamed Al Beltagy, appealed to President Mohamed Morsi to use "decisive force" to contain the killings of citizens, the burning of the state institutions and the blocking of roads and the bridges.

Following the violent clashes in Port Said, the Armed Forces deployed troops in the streets to prevent further violence and protect state facilities. On the army official page, a statement denied that the army had used any live ammunition as reported by some media.

Egypt's Port Said ruling sparks chaos

BEIJING, Jan. 27, 2013 (Xinhuanet) --

The Cairo Criminal Court on Saturday ordered the death sentence for 21 defendants over the soccer violence which killed more than 70 people last February.

Seventy-three defendants, including nine top security officials, were arrested for a tragic clash at Port Said Stadium after a match between teams from Port Said and Cairo. Itís a decision that has roused riots, but also brought relief to the families of the victims.

After almost one year of Portsaidís stadium disaster, an Egyptian court sentenced 21 defendants to death in the football massacre that left 72 dead.The ruling for the rest of the 73 accused is set for March the 9th.

The judge read out a list of the names who had been "referred to the Mufti", a phrase used to denote a death verdict as all such sentences must be reviewed by the Egyptís top religious authority.

Tarek Negeeda, lawyer, said, "According to the law when there is a referral to the mufti there is a death sentence. The mufti is a consultant to the court they can accept or decline the verdict and usually they approve. Today we are at a blood case and the retribution is important and I think the mufti will support this."

Soon after the verdict the families of the deceased cheered happily calling it the beginning for a long journey for justice for those killed in the clashes.

ďIt is just the beginning. Thanks god this is the first step and we will not be over excited. All of the rights of the martyrs must return. The killers should be sentenced. All of those who prepared for this tragedy have to pay. "

Mother of a victim said, "The judge made our hearts happy and we will wait for the rest of the verdict for involved and accused police who facilitated for the killing our sons. My son should now rest in peace knowing that his right is back"

Thousands of Ultras Ahlawy fans celebrated the court verdict with fireworks and chanting at the Ahly Club grounds in Cairo. The fans group has been protesting for almost one year demanding the rights of the fans who have been killed.

As the verdict was issued in Port Said, the families of the condemned attempted to storm the city prison with reports saying they used live ammunition killing police staff.


Egyptians rally in Port Said after 21 sentenced to death

by Mahmoud Fouly

CAIRO, Jan. 26, 2013 (Xinhua) --

After Egyptian court sentenced 21 convicts, involved in killing dozens of Cairo soccer fans in Port Said last year, to death on Saturday, thousands of people rallied in the capital Cairo and Port Said, leading to clashes that left 30 killed and over 300 others injured.

In February 2012, 74 people were killed in tragic riots at Port Said Stadium following a soccer match between Port Said's al-Masry and Cairo's al-Ahly teams. Afterwards, 73 people, including nine top security officials, were arrested.

After the verdict on Saturday, family members of the victims in Cairo came out of the court with tears, joined by "Ultras Ahlawy," a group of soccer fans who had vowed earlier to die for the retaliation for their murdered fellows.

"Judiciary proved to be fair and honorable," father of Youssef Hamada, a victim of the riot, told Xinhua. "We praise the presiding judge who comforted all the people, and we thank God for the honorable judiciary of Egypt."

After leaving the court, family members of the victims joined the rally of al-Ahly fans outside the club headquarters in downtown Cairo.

Mohamed, a 29-year-old soccer fan, said that a lot of other people should be tried, including Port Said governor and security officials.

After the verdict, many soccer fans rallied in iconic Tahrir Square, regardless of nearby clashes between protestors and security men around the parliament headquarters. One day ago, clashes between protesters and security forces in nationwide demonstrations marking the second anniversary of Egypt's political upheaval have left seven people killed and 456 injured.

In Port Said, clashes erupted Saturday between security men and relatives of the 21 convicts sentenced to death, as the latter attempted to break into Port Said Prison to release their fellows.

Afterwards, angry people took to the streets of Port Said, blocked traffic, broke into police stations and attacked some public and private properties, which led to clashes that killed at least 30 and injured over 300.

"The Ministry of Health sent air ambulances to Port Said to move the seriously wounded people to hospitals in Cairo," the ministry spokesman Ahmed Omar told Xinhua.

Furious protestors in Port Said also attacked various government institutions, which made the armed forces deploy its troops to protect vital facilities in the city.

President Mohamed Morsi has held lengthy meetings with top officials to discuss methods to contain the situation, after which the National Defense Council announced the possibility of imposing a curfew or a state of emergency in uncontrollable areas of violent confrontations.

Editor: yan

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