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February 24, 2021

Deadly Egypt riots follow football verdicts

At least one person has been killed as fans of rival football teams take to the streets in Egypt, angered by verdicts over last year’s deadly stadium riots in Port Said, Al Jazeera reports. Fans of the Cairo club Al-Ahly, angered by the acquittal of seven police officers, set fire to a police officers’ club and the football federation’s headquarters in the capital. Hundreds of people also took to the streets in Port Said to protest against a Cairo court’s upholding of the death sentences of 21 fans accused of sparking the riots that left 74 people – most of them Al-Ahly supporters – dead.The death sentences, passed on January 28, have been a flashpoint for protests across the country. The football stadium deaths occurred in February 2012 at the end of a match between Al-Ahly and local side Al-Masry. Spectators were crushed when panicked crowds tried to escape from the stadium after a pitch invasion by supporters of Al-Masry. Two senior policemen – the former head of police security General Essam Samak and Brigadier General Mohammed Saaed – were sentenced to 15 years in prison. Saaed had the keys to the stadium gates, which were locked at the time of the riot.

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