Footballers among at least 32 killed in Egypt after death sentences for hooligans

 

At least 32 people have died after a furious crowd clashed with police in Egypt's Port Said, with another 41 killed in separate anti-government clashes in Cairo.

Among the dead are Abdel-Halim al-Dizawi, a who plays for the city's Al-Marikh football team, and Tamer al-Fahla, who used to play for al-Masri.

Both were shot dead.

The protesters were angered by the death sentences handed to 21 men for their involvement in last year's football stadium disaster in the city, which killed 74.

Spectators were crushed 1 February last year after Port Said's local team, al-Masri, beat Cairo's al-Ahly 3-1.

Yesterday's disturbances were sparked when Judge Sobhy Abdel Maguid announced that the men found guilty of involvement in the riot would be "referred to the Mufti," a phrase meaning execution, as in Egypt all death sentences require approval from the country's top religious authority.

Executions in Egypt are usually carried out by hanging.

Families of victims in the Cairo court cheered and wept for joy at the announcement.

A total of 73 people were standing trial, with more verdicts due on 9 March.

One relative of a victim in the court shouted: "God is greatest." Outside al-Ahly's stadium, supporters also cheered. Fans had threatened fresh violence unless the death penalty was given.

But in Port Said, al-Masri fans protested the decision outside the city's prison, where most of the convicted men are being held. Residents rampaged through the streets and some tried to storm the prison, angry that people from their city had been blamed, with gunshots reported.

At least 32 people are reported dead, two of them policemen, and state television quotes the Health Ministry saying more than 200 people were also injured.

Armoured vehicles and military police were deployed on the streets, with the state news agency quoting a general saying the aim was to "establish calm and stability in Port Said and to protect public institutions".

Unrest has been growing across Egypt since rallies began, marking the second anniversary of the protests which ended Hosni Mubarak's dictatorial 30-year reign.

Today police fired tear gas at dozens of stone-throwing protesters in Cairo in a fourth day of street violence that has killed at least 41 people.

Protesters are unhappy that the revolutionary fervour has since dissipated, alleging continued police brutality. President Mohamed Morsi, elected in June last year, stoked unrest with his decision to fast-track an Islamist-tinged constitution rejected by his opponents.

Morsi's supporters say their critics are ignoring democratic principles, after elections swept the Islamists to office.

Thousands have taken to the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other cities since Friday.

Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters who had tried to cross barbed-wire barriers outside the presidential palace in Cairo, state TV reported. Protesters' tents were also dismantled and some burned.

In Cairo's Tahrir Square, Mahmoud Suleiman, 22, said: "We want to change the president and the government. We are tired of this regime. Nothing has changed."

"The protests will continue until we realise all the demands of the revolution - bread, freedom and social justice," said Ahmed Salama, 28, a protester camped out with dozens of others in Tahrir.

In a statement in response to Friday's violence, Morsi said the state would not hesitate in "pursuing the criminals and delivering them to justice". He urged Egyptians to respect the principles of the revolution by expressing views peacefully.

The president was due to meet yesterday with the National Defence Council to discuss the violence.

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said such violence "can have no place in a truly democratic Egypt".

Adding that the UK remained a "committed as a strong friend of Egypt and the Egyptian people to support the aim of strengthening true democracy, he added: "The right to peaceful freedom of expression and assembly is an essential part of this, but the violence we have seen today can have no place in a truly democratic Egypt."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Sport
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
i100
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam