Egypt football: Death sentences over Port Said stadium violence


Supporters of the victims celebrated the verdict in Cairo

An Egyptian court has sentenced 21 people to death over football riots that killed 74 last year, with the verdict sparking fresh deadly violence.

The riots - Egypt's worst-ever football disaster - began after a top-league game at Port Said stadium.

The ruling caused anger in Port Said, where eight people died as supporters of the defendants clashed with police.

The new violence comes after a day of unrest on the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Thousands of people took to the streets on Friday to voice their opposition to Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, accusing him of betraying the revolution.

At least seven people were killed and more than 450 wounded in unrest across Egypt.

Last year's football riots led to the suspension of the league.

Port Said 2012 football deaths

  • 74 people killed in Port Said stadium on 2 February 2012
  • Clashes broke out between rival fans of clubs al-Masry and al-Ahly
  • Fans flooded on to pitch attacking Ahly players and fans as match ended
  • Most died of concussion, cuts and suffocation
  • The largest death toll in Egypt's football history

They began minutes after the game in Port Said. Fans of local side al-Masry invaded the pitch, hurling stones and fireworks at visiting supporters from Cairo club al-Ahly.

The violence in Port Said sparked riots in Cairo during which a further 16 people died.

A section of al-Ahly supporters, known as the "ultras", played a prominent role in the protests against ex-President Mubarak.

Some accused supporters of the toppled leader of instigating the Port Said violence. They also accused them of doing little to prevent it.

All 21 defendants sentenced to death on Saturday were al-Masry fans. When the verdicts were announced by a judge in the Cairo court, relatives of victims cheered.

However, the ruling sparked violence in Port Said, Supporters and relatives of those sentenced tried to storm the prison where the defendants are held.

The eight people who died in the clash included two policemen, officials say. Army units were deployed on the city's streets following the violence.

Families of those given death sentences were seen weeping and fleeing tear gas outside Port Said jail

Seventy-three people, including nine policemen, were tried over the stadium clashes. None are al-Ahly fans.

The judge said he would announce verdicts for the remaining defendants on 9 March.

Economic 'collapse'

Friday saw a big anti-government rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square, with opposition supporters clashing with police.

There was also unrest in 12 out of 27 of Egypt's provinces. At least six of the deaths occurred in Suez.

In Ismailia, protesters set fire to the headquarters of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. The city's governorate headquarters was later also stormed.

The liberal opposition accuses Mr Morsi of being autocratic and driving through a new constitution that does not protect adequately freedom of expression or religion.

The government is also being blamed for a deepening economic crisis.

One of the demonstrators at Cairo's Tahrir Square, Momen Asour, said he had come to demand an end to President Morsi's rule.

"We have not seen anything, Neither freedom, nor social justice, or any solution to unemployment, or any investment," he said. "On the contrary, the economy has collapsed."

President Morsi and his allies have dismissed the claim, saying they have a democratic mandate following recent elections. The constitution, drawn up by an Islamist-dominated body, was approved by referendum last month.


More on This Story

Egypt transition


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination

Comments 5 of 219


More Middle East stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Woman standingMysterious miracle

    It's extremely unusual and shouldn't give false hope, but what makes the body beat cancer on its own?


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach - why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.