Deadly clashes in Egypt

2012-03-25 10:27

Cairo - One person was shot dead and at least 65 injured when security forces clashed with angry soccer fans in Egypt's Port Said protesting against an order to suspend their club over the country's worst stadium disaster, a medical source said.

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) banned the club, al-Masry, for two seasons on Friday for a pitch invasion that killed 74 fans last month, the most deadly incident since the protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak last year.

The EFA ordered Port Said Stadium, where the stampede took place after al-Masry beat Cairo's Al Ahli, to be closed for three years.

Military police fired shots in the air to disperse hundreds of soccer fans protesting outside the Suez Canal Authority building in Port Said late on Friday, witnesses said.

"Hundreds of angry fans clashed with military police after the decision was announced," one witness said.

"One was shot dead, in the back, and 18 were injured in the clashes, two of them are suffering gunshot wounds," the medical source said.

Clashes erupted again on Saturday after the funeral of the person who was shot. Protesters smashed the front of police and army clubs in the city and marched towards the canal authority's building. Police fired teargas and shot into the air.

"I haven't seen a worse day than what Port Said is going through today," said Hany Abu Taleb, 28, a student in Port Said. "I demand the suspension of the decision (to ban the club) or its amendment ... We refuse to have the football league without Port Said."

Port Said harbour was closed on Saturday morning because of the protests and ships using the Suez Canal were directed to a secondary route east of the city, sources at the Suez Canal Authority and Port Said harbour said.

Shops were closed and many city residents stayed in their homes. Army and police stepped up security outside government buildings.