Protester killed as Egypt braces for court verdict



Haitham El-Tabei | AFP

Published — Saturday 9 March 2013

Last update 9 March 2013 3:53 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

PORT SAID: A protester was shot dead in clashes in Port Said early yesterday on the eve of a court verdict on a deadly football riot, with unrest pushing Egypt’s already precarious government to the brink.
The Interior Ministry said yesterday that it was withdrawing police from their headquarters in the city “to calm tensions” and handed the military responsibility for the building’s protection.
The military has been deployed in the restive Suez Canal city since protests erupted there in late January after a court sentenced 21 defendants to death in the case.
Today the court, again sitting for security reasons in the capital, is due to judge the remaining 52 defendants for their involvement in a 2011 stadium riot that killed 74 people, mostly fans of visiting Cairo side Al-Ahly.
If convicted, defendants are sentenced simultaneously under Egypt’s justice system.
The latest verdict will coincide with unprecedented protests nationwide by police themselves, including in the canal city of Ismailiya where riot police have said they will refuse to obey orders to deploy in neighboring Port Said.
The striking policemen say they are not equipped to deal with violent protesters, and complain they are being made to suffer the consequences of government mistakes.
On Thursday, protesters again marched on the police headquarters in Port Said, which had already been torched in previous incidents, and clashed with officers. One protester was shot dead overnight and 73 people were wounded, medics said.
President Muhammad Mursi had deployed the military to bolster police in the city after the court sentenced 21 Port Said residents to death for their role in the 2011 riot.
The remaining defendants to be judged on Saturday include nine policemen and three officials of the Port Said football club, Al-Masry.
The city is now bracing for a repeat of violence there in January that killed dozens of people after the initial verdict.
“What happens on Saturday depends on the verdict,” said Al-Badry Al-Farghali, a former parliamentarian from Port Said. “I believe it’s best to delay the verdict, or Egypt will go up in flames, here or elsewhere.”
Police have now largely withdrawn from the city, with soldiers taking over much of their duties.
“I’m terrified of what could happen on Saturday,” one soldier guarding the police headquarters told AFP.
Mursi’s beleaguered government will have to contend with protests in Cairo should the court exonerate the remaining defendants — Al-Ahly fans have threatened to stage violent protests if the court issues lenient verdicts.
“If there is no justice on March 9, you will wish you could find a way to escape,” the group warned police in a message posted on its Facebook page.
The official MENA news agency reported yesterday that the Interior Ministry planned to deploy 2,000 policemen outside Cairo’s police academy, where a panel of judges will deliver a verdict in a makeshift courtroom.
More unrest will further imperil the government’s plans to push ahead with economic reforms needed to secure a $4.8-billion International Monetary Fund loan.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Ministry of Education (MoE) has allocated over 180 clinics for schools in Riyadh and directed all its departments across the Kingdom to recruit health advisers at schools with more than 100 students.Work has already started on introducing...
RIYADH: The Moroccan experience in desert tourism is largely similar to that of Saudi Arabia, which boasts of a unique diversity in culture in its different regions, Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National...
JAZAN: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the advanced field hospital of the Armed Forces in Jazan on Tuesday.He was reassured about the injured in the ongoing battle. He conveyed the greetings of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King S...
JEDDAH: The planned “North Thunder” military exercise is a clear message to Iran and the countries in the region it supports that any hostile intentions and actions will be firmly dealt with, an expert has said.The military drill is scheduled to be h...
RIYADH: Syrian conjoined twins will be separated at the King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital at the King Abdul Aziz Medical City (KAMC) in Riyadh on Sunday.According to a KAMC spokesman, the forthcoming surgery will be the fourth and final st...
JEDDAH: Education Minister Ahmed Al-Issa has issued an order to establish a department for school security. It will be be linked organizationally to the general supervisor of school safety and security at the ministry.According to the decision, schoo...
JEDDAH: From delivering mails for Saudi Aramco to captaining Saudi Arabian Airlines’ first flight to New York, Jazza Al-Shammari’s career story is unique.“I started my career as a postman with Saudi Aramco in 1959 and continued the primary studies at...
RIYADH: A team of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center (KFSHRC) has identified a gene responsible for cardiomyopathy.Dr. Zuhair bin Nasser Al-Hasnan, KFSHRC medical genetics consultant, said the team conducted a study on a Saudi...
JEDDAH: The Pakistan Welfare Society (PWS) organized a free medical camp and discussion on health for women at the Pakistani Consulate recently.Doctors and specialists diagnosed patients and distributed free medicines to needy patients, and arranged...
JEDDAH: Yemen Vice President and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah has thanked Saudi Arabia for standing by his country during tough times.Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Tuesday, he said: “Our GCC brothers, particularly Saudi Arabia, s...
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia joined the rest of the world in intensifying public awareness on cancer with activities spread over the week supporting the global cause that aims to save millions of lives every year by raising awareness and education about the...
RIYADH: Chairman of ACWA Power International Mohammed Abu Nayyan thanked King Mohammed VI of Morocco for personally inaugurating Morocco’s first solar power plant, Noor1, built by an international consortium led by his company.“We were extremely priv...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Health is considering imposing an asset declaration as well as an absence of interest conflict testimony on its employees as a measure in fighting corruption.Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih made the announcement at a one-day f...
DAMMAM: Abdussalam Kanniyan, chairman of the International Indian School in Dammam (IISD), has been honored with the “Person of the Year 2015” award by Vatakara NRI Forum, a community group in the Eastern Province.The award was based on his outstandi...
RIYADH: Andrej Plenkovic, the leader of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee delegation, on Tuesday hailed Saudi Arabia for its yeoman services in looking after the displaced Syrians in countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.“We fu...

Stay Connected

Facebook