Tension persists in Egypt

rahimi20130311021522773Situation in Egypt remains tense after violent clashes between police and protesters over a controversial court ruling on 2012 soccer riot in the North African country.

According to reports, on Sunday violence still persisted in parts of the Egyptian capital city of Cairo.

On Saturday, the head of Egypt’s emergency services, Mohammed Sultan, said a protester “suffocated” after inhaling tear gas and “died in the ambulance on his way to hospital.”

However, other contradicting reports indicated that a protester was shot dead in clashes with riot police in central Cairo.

On the same day, Egyptian soccer fans set fire to the country’s soccer association and a police club complex in the capital following the announcement of the verdict.

The clashes came after Cairo Criminal Court upheld the death sentence for 21 defendants in the 2012 Port Said soccer riot trial. The court also handed life sentences to five other defendants, gave 19 lesser jail terms and acquitted 28 others.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood party has condemned the ongoing violence and called for a stop to all protests in the country.

Since March 3, at least seven people have been killed and hundreds more wounded in the Suez Canal city of Port Said, which has been the scene of similar violent protests since January.

Protesters in Port Said are outraged that people from their city were found guilty of murdering the 74, who were killed in a riot that broke out in their town after their team Al-Masry defeated Cairo’s Al-Ahly 3-1 in a football match last year.

In January, a judge sentenced 21 local people to death for their roles in the February 1, 2012 riot, in which 1,000 people were also injured. Egyptians have criticized the verdict, describing it as politicized.

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