Over 30 dead, army deployed in Egypt as riot flares up in Port Said after stadium stampede death sentences
Egypt's Interior Ministry says 130 rioters have been arrested across the country, Al Arabiya reports.The deadly assault follows the sentencing of 21 people to death for the riot and stampede in Port Said in which dozens were killed last February.As the verdict was issued in Port Said, the families of the condemned attempted to storm the city prison, Egyptian state TV reported. Several sources reported that automatic rifles using live ammunition have been shot from the crowd at the scene.Two police officers were gunned down outside the prison. There are also reports of two football players among other civilian deaths in the riots, according to AP.The director of hospitals in the city, Dr Abdel Raham Farah, says Mahmoud Abdel-Halim al-Dizawi, a footballer, who plays for Port Said's Al-Marikh club, was shot three times and died.He says Tamer al-Fahla, a former player for the city's main team Al-Masry, was also shot dead on his way to the rival Al-Marikh club.The club is near a prison residents tried to storm Saturday to free defendants in the soccer stadium riot trial. The military has been deployed to try and restore security. Security forces had to fire teargas to disperse the crowd, mainly family members, trying to break into the prison with rocks and firearms. A police station was torched and a minibus that belonged to one of the media channels was set on fire.Egypt’s army has managed to take control of Port Said prison and Suez Canal building at around 1600 GMT, according to Al Arabiya. The entrances to the port city have been cordoned off.There have been reports that a Greek ship was forced to leave Port Said after being fired at, according to Al Arabiya.
More than 70 accused are standing trial over the tragedy at the stadium. Among them are nine security officials. Saturday’s sentences are now to be confirmed by Egypt’s top religious authority, the Grand Mufti. The court is to hear the cases of the other accused in early March.The tragic riot on February 1, 2012, between fans of home team Al-Masry and Cairo's visiting Al-Ahly left over 70 people dead and sparked days of violent protests in the capital, which claimed 16 more lives. It was the deadliest football-related incident in 15 years and the worst in Egypt’s history. News of the verdict was welcomed with cheers and fireworks by members of the Ultras, the hard core fans of Al-Ahly. They were demonstrating in front of their club building.Relatives of the defendants protesting in Port Said expressed anger and dismay over the verdict.The sentencing comes the day after the second anniversary of the revolution that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The date has been marked by violent protest in the country, which left at least nine people killed and hundreds injured.