Deadly Clashes in Egypt After Football Riot Verdict
At least 22 people were today killed in violence that engulfed Egypt's canal city of Port Said which erupted after a Court sentenced 21 football fans to death for last year's post-match riot.
The violence, including an attempt of jail break, came after a Cairo court handed down the death sentences over the football riot last February in which 74 people were killed.
It also came a day after violence swept Egypt on the second anniversary of its uprising.
Taken aback by the level of violence in two days, security officials said the military is being deployed to Port Said.
This is the second such deployment in less than 24 hours.
The army has already taken control of the Suez Canal out of fear that the violence might affect the Canal.
Army was forced to deploy its forces in the Suez after the security affiliated with the Interior Ministry lost control there last night after eight died in clashes with security there.
As news of the verdict spread, the families of the sentenced gathered in front of a prison in Port Said.
They tried to storm the prison leading to fierce clashes with security forces, who fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds.
Reports said unidentified assailants used automatic weapons against police. Two policemen were shot dead outside the jail.
"Twenty-two people were killed and 200 injured," a Health Ministry statement said.
Two policemen were among those killed, the Interior Ministry said in a separate statement, adding that there were "many critical injuries among police forces."
A senior Army officer said that troops are being sent to Port Said.
"It has been decided to deploy some units to work for calm and stability and the protection of public establishments," General Ahmed Wasfi said in a statement carried by the official MENA news agency.
According to witnesses, shops in the are have closed down and armoured personnel vehicles have been deployed.
The verdict came as surprise for many as all experts expected acquittal.
The judge said in his statement read live on state TV that he would announce the verdict for the remaining 52 defendants on March 9.
Among those on trial are nine security officials. The soccer melee on February 1, 2012 between Port Said's Al-Masry fans and Cairo's Al-Ahly fans was the world's deadliest soccer violence in 15 years.
As is customary in Egypt, the death sentences will be sent to a top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for approval.
The sentences comes after a day of clashes marking the revolution's second anniversary left at least nine people dead and 530 injured.
Much has elapsed since the mass uprising of 2011 overthrew Mubarak, and Egyptians have for the first time elected a government of their own. But the developments have left the country sharply polarised.
The presidential vote that elected Brotherhood leader Mohamed Mursi as the president was far from overwhelming for any single candidate.
A recent referendum on the constitution also left the country deeply divided with the secular and liberal opposition terming the draft as "too Islamist" that would compromise on the rights of the minorities.
Not much has changed in the last three years in terms of anger at the economic and social polices and frustration towards achieving real changes.
The critics of Mursi say his policies side with the rich and are no different than those laws of Mubarak.
Mursi took to Twitter to appeal for calm, urging "citizens to adhere to the values of the revolution, express opinions freely and peacefully and renounce violence".
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