After the sentences were handed out it didn’t take long for more violence to erupt between soccer hooligans that support the Masry club and security forces. In addition, relatives and supporters of the accused stormed a local jail in an attempt to free them. The 27 dead include police officers, protesters, and according to reports, at least two soccer players.
Following the guilty verdicts, angry mobs charged through the city’s streets accusing the government of corruption. Security forces are worried that things might get worse as black market weapons have recently found their way into Egypt from several close by countries such as Libya. The Egyptian army has been sent to Port
Said to help protect several government buildings and the prison that was stormed.
There was also deadly rioting in Egypt the day before the sentencing as crowds of people demonstrated against the nation’s Islamist-led government. The country has been very unstable since former leader Hosni Mubarak was overthrown two years ago. The violence after the soccer riot sentencing was predicted by many Egyptians.
The original riot took place last February 1 when supporters of the Masry team attacked fans of the rival Ahly club from Cairo following a game in Port Said. A total of 74 fans were murdered during the incident and the final death toll was believed to be 79 people. Supporters of Ahly threatened to attack the government and police if the murderers weren’t given the death penalty. They got their wish, but if course this led to violence from Masry fans.
During the February riot police officers were accused of standing back and watching the bloodshed while Ahly fans were slaughtered. Several high-raking police officials were charged following the stadium riot and they’re scheduled to receive their sentences in March. It’s been claimed that the police may have even planned the stadium riot as a way to punish Ahly supporters for their involvement in ousting Mubarak and their general resistance to Egypt’s former police state.
It’s now expected that further violence will take place when the next group of defendants are sentenced on March 9. One hooligan told the press that the fight is between Ahly supporters and those who were responsible for the stadium murders such as the government, police, and army. He added that revenge will be taken. During the rioting on Jan. 26 it was reported that a soccer player named Mahmoud Abdel-Halim al-Dizawi, who played for the Al-Marikh club in Port said was shot numerous times and killed. It was also reported that Tamer al-Fahla, who formerly played for the Al-Masry team, was murdered.