Egyptian Court Ruling Sparks Fatal Riot

Soccer fans outraged over death sentences

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Mar 9, 2013 2:45 PM CST | Updated Mar 9, 2013 3:14 PM CST

(Newser) – An Egyptian court today confirmed the death sentences against 21 people for taking part in a deadly soccer riot but acquitted seven police officers for their alleged role in the violence. The verdict enraged fans in Cairo, prompting them to torch the soccer federation headquarters and a police club in protest. The trial over the melee that killed 74 people after a soccer game in the city of Port Said in early 2012 has been the source of some of the worst unrest to hit Egypt in recent weeks.

While the violence has largely involved fans of rival soccer teams, the case has taken on political undercurrents because many blame the police for standing by during the violence last year. Shortly after the verdict was announced, fans of Cairo's Al-Ahly club who had gathered in the thousands outside the team's headquarters in the center of the Egyptian capital went on a rampage, torching a police club nearby and storming Egypt's soccer federation headquarters before setting it ablaze. At least five people were injured in the protests and one died from tear gas inhalation.

Egyptian soccer fans of Al-Ahly club celebrate in front of their club in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.
Egyptian soccer fans of Al-Ahly club celebrate in front of their club in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.   (Amr Nabil)
An Egyptian man walks on the grounds of a police officer's club as a fire set by protesters burns in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.
An Egyptian man walks on the grounds of a police officer's club as a fire set by protesters burns in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.   (Ahmed Gomaa)
Egyptian soccer fans of the Al-Ahly club celebrate in front of their club in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.
Egyptian soccer fans of the Al-Ahly club celebrate in front of their club in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.   (Amr Nabil)
Smoke rises from the Police Officers Club, left, and the Egyptian Soccer Federation, right, as a police helicopter surveys the scene in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.
Smoke rises from the Police Officers Club, left, and the Egyptian Soccer Federation, right, as a police helicopter surveys the scene in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.   (Maya Alleruzzo)
An injured security official is carried from a police officers club in the neighborhood of Zamalek, after protesters set fires following a court verdict in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.
An injured security official is carried from a police officers club in the neighborhood of Zamalek, after protesters set fires following a court verdict in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.   (Mohammed Asad)
Policemen try to extinguish fire at a police club set by protesters following a court verdict in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.
Policemen try to extinguish fire at a police club set by protesters following a court verdict in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.   (Amr Nabil)
Egyptian soccer fans of Al-Ahly club celebrate in front of their club in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013 after an Egyptian court confirmed death sentences against 21 people for their role in a deadly 2012 soccer riot that killed more than 70 people in the city of Port Said....
Egyptian soccer fans of Al-Ahly club celebrate in front of their club in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013 after an Egyptian court confirmed death sentences against 21 people for their role in a deadly...   (Amr Nabil)
An Egyptian police helicopter flies through smoke from fires set by protesters following a court verdict in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.
An Egyptian police helicopter flies through smoke from fires set by protesters following a court verdict in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.   (Maya Alleruzzo)
An Egyptian soccer fan of Al-Ahly club raises a banner honoring fellow fans killed in a 2012 stadium riot in the club headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.
An Egyptian soccer fan of Al-Ahly club raises a banner honoring fellow fans killed in a 2012 stadium riot in the club headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 9, 2013.   (Amr Nabil)
Several protesters set fire to tires on the city's dock in an attempt to prevent ships from coming in to the strategic city of Port Said at one end of the Suez Canal, in Egypt, March 9, 2013.
Several protesters set fire to tires on the city's dock in an attempt to prevent ships from coming in to the strategic city of Port Said at one end of the Suez Canal, in Egypt, March 9, 2013.   (Ahmed Ramadan)
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