Lifestyle & Belief

2 dead in violent protests over soccer riot verdicts in Cairo


Al-Ahly club supporters run away from smoke and flames rising from the police officers' club in Cairo on March 9, 2013, after several buildings in the complex were set on fire. According to a senior security official, hardcore Al-Ahly football fans, known as the Ultras, stormed the complex and set fire to the buildings after an Egyptian court upheld death sentences for 21 defendants over a deadly football riot in Port Said last year.

Soccer fans torched a police club and stormed Egypt's soccer federation headquarters before setting it ablaze as they rampaged through the streets Saturday over the controversial soccer riot court verdict.

At least two protesters were killed in clashes with police, CNN reported.

One protester died in violence outside the Semiramis Intercontinental hotel in downtown Cairo. Health Ministry spokesman Ahmed Osman later confirmed a second death.

The three-story Egyptian Football Association building in Cairo was torched as soccer fans looked on, and a neighboring club for police officers also caught fire. Small fires burned in the Port Said harbor, CNN reported.

The violence followed a verdict by a Cairo court which confirmed death sentences previously handed down to 21 defendants in the controversial Port Said soccer riot case and sentenced more than 20 others to prison terms, state media said.

More from GlobalPostDeath sentences confirmed for Port Said football rioters | GlobalPost

The February 2012 riot was Egypt's worst soccer disaster and happened after a league match between Al-Masry and Cairo's Al-Ahly club, with Port Said supporters setting upon the visiting fans after the final whistle, AP reported.

The riot killed 74 people and injured 1000.

AP reported that shortly after the verdict was announced, thousands of suspected fans of Cairo's Al-Ahly club who had gathered in the thousands outside the team's headquarters in central Cairo went on a rampage.

Plumes of thick black smoke billowed out over the Cairo skyline Saturday..