Death Sentences Spark Egyptian Riot, Killing 30

On Saturday, the court's verdict sparked a new riot, which left 30 more people dead.

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Egyptians react in Port Said (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Twenty-one defendants on trial for a bloody 2012 football riot that killed scores of people were sentenced to death on Saturday. This decision created a new riot, during which 30 people were killed as onlookers protested the verdict, reports Al Jazeera.

At least 74 people were killed in the riot on February 1, 2012, which began minutes after the final whistle in a game between al-Masry and the Cairo-based al-Ahly.

Al-Masry fans stormed the pitch after their team won, throwing stones, bottles and fireworks at al-Ahly supporters.

Witnesses said that police at the stadium did nothing to stop the violence, which set off days of violent protests in the capital Cairo.

The verdicts are not final; death sentences must be approved by Egypt's grand mufti, though that is largely a procedural formality. Defendants can also appeal their sentences, which could take years to carry out.

After the verdicts were handed down, the families of the defendants tried to storm the prison, and police used tear gas to disperse them.

There were reports of gunfire around the prison, with 30 people killed, including at least two police officers who were shot dead. Police have now sealed off Port Said, and the army has been deployed to "restore stability"; a curfew has been imposed in the area around the prison.

Read more at Al Jazeera.

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