Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Death-sentence riots kill dozens

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CAIRO, Egypt -- Angry relatives and residents rampaged through an Egyptian port city Saturday in rioting that killed at least 27 people after a judge sentenced nearly two dozen soccer fans to death for involvement in deadly violence after a game last year.

The unrest was the latest in a bout of violence that has left a total of 38 people dead in two days, including 11 killed in clashes between police and protesters marking Friday's second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

President Mohammed Morsi cancelled a trip to Ethiopia and instead met for the first time with top generals as part of the newly formed National Defence Council.

The violence in Port Said erupted after a judge sentenced 21 people to death in connection with the Feb. 1 soccer melee that killed 74 fans of the Cairo-based Al-Ahly team. Executions in Egypt are usually carried out by hanging.

Die-hard soccer fans from both teams, known as Ultras, hold the police at least partially responsible for February's violence, which was the world's worst soccer violence in 15 years, saying officers at the game did nothing to stop the bloodshed. They also criticize Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi for doing little to reform the police force or the judiciary since he took office in July.

The opposition says Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected and civilian president, and his Muslim Brotherhood allies in government have failed to restore stability amid continued political turmoil and crime, and point to a worsening economy.

In a statement Saturday, the main opposition National Salvation Front said it holds Morsi responsible for "the excessive use of force by the security forces against protesters." They threatened to boycott upcoming parliamentary elections if Morsi does not meet their demands that include amending articles in the new constitution.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 27, 2013 A5

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