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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Case Handler / Probate Assistant

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Case Handler/Probate ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Telesales Executive - OTE £30,000

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This precious metal refining co...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Conveyancing Fee Earner

£20000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Conveyancing Fee Earne...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - £40,000 - £70,000 OTE

£40000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn