March 9 - Celebrations in Cairo but tight security in Port Said following the confirmation of death sentences for 21 soccer fans for their role in last year's deadly stadium riot. Sunita Rappai reports.
Celebrations in Cairo as an Egyptian court confirms death sentences on 21 football fans for their role in a deadly stadium riot in Port Said last year. Hundreds of Al-Ahly soccer fans gathered at their club's headquarters in upscale Zamalek to cheer the verdicts. Judge Sobhi Abdel Meguied also sentenced five more people to life in jail for the riot and acquitted another 28. Others received shorter jail sentences. Crowds also gathered in Port Said for the verdict where the army was maintaining security after the government pulled out police. Deadly clashes and unrest have plagued the city since the sentences were first announced on January 26, with eight killed this week alone. Port Said residents like Sayed Ahmed said the verdict had been politicized and that only God would bring justice. More than 70 people died when riots broke out at the end of a match between Cairo's Al-Ahly team and local team Al-Masry in Port Said last February. Spectators were crushed when panicked crowds tried to escape from the stadium following a pitch invasion by Al-Masry fans.