Protest against soccer riot verdict turns deadly in Egypt
At least 22 are dead in the city of Port Said as a result of rioting supporters of 21 defendants who were sentenced to death because of a melee following a soccer game last February.
The riot killed 74 and 73 defendants were charged with murder.
The unrest occurred following a game last February in Port Said between the local team and a team from Cairo. No defendants were from Port Said.
At least 22 people died on Saturday when Egyptians rampaged in protest at the sentencing of 21 people to death over a soccer stadium disaster, adding to bloody street turmoil confronting Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.
Armored vehicles and military police fanned through the streets of Port Said after the violence. The state news agency quoted a general as saying the military aimed to "establish calm and stability in Port Said and to protect public institutions".
The unrest began with nationwide rallies on Friday to mark the second anniversary of the overthrow of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, a democratic uprising that protesters now accuse Mursi of betraying by ramming through an Islamist-hued constitution.
While anniversary-related violence subsided, a new flare-up hit Port Said after a court sentenced 21 men to die for involvement in the deaths of 74 people after a local soccer match on February 1, 2012, many of them fans of the visiting team.
Residents ran wildly through the streets of Port Said in rage that men from their city had been blamed for the stadium disaster, and gunshots were reported near the prison where most of the defendants were being held.
State television, citing the Health Ministry, said 22 people were killed and more than 200 wounded. Security sources said at least two of the dead were policemen.
A witness said some men stormed a police station in Port Said, where protesters lit tires in the street, sending black smoke funneling into the air.
At least nine people were killed in clashes with police on Friday, mainly in the port of Suez where the army has also deployed. Hundreds were injured as police rained down tear gas on protesters armed with stones and some with petrol bombs.
The schism between Islamists and secular Egyptians is hurting efforts by Mursi, freely elected in June, to revive an economy in crisis and reverse a slide in Egypt's currency.
The political strife and lack of security that has blighted the Arab world's most populous country over much of the post-Mubarak era is casting a chilling shadow over a parliamentary election expected to start in April.
It didn't help that the soccer riot verdict occurred on the second anniversary of the overthrow of President Mubarak. Many Egyptians took the opportunity to express their extreme displeasure with the high handed tactics of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi's inability to manage an economy in the process of melting down. Food is scarce, energy is very expensive, and tens of millions of ordinary Egyptians are having great difficulty feeding themselves.
Egypt is looking to the IMF for a loan of about $6 billion, but that's a drop in the bucket for what they need. With the harvest expected to be 50% of normal, and the country with no cash reserves to buy any food on the world market, the food shortages will only get worse.