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Police have now largely withdrawn from the city, with soldiers taking over much of their duties.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

JOUF: A citizen in Jouf has become at 94 the oldest person to register for the Dec. 12 municipal council elections.The man, who was not named, arrived at the Zaloum election center accompanied by his 62-year-old son, an online publication reported on...
JEDDAH: The spike in cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus is worrying because of the upcoming annual pilgrimage, according to a top doctor.Hanan Balkhi, head of the Health Ministry’s national scientific committee of infect...
RIYADH: Senior Indian police and intelligence officials interrogated two Saudis after they were detained following their suspicious movement in Trichy, a southern city in India’s Tamil Nadu state. Officials detained the duo — Rasheed and Abdul Rahma...
MADINAH: Defective air conditioning units at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport (PMIA) have left passengers sweltering amid the excessive afternoon heat. The travelers had to resort to using pieces of paper as fans to cool themselves...
RIYADH: The participation of Saudi women in the upcoming municipal council elections is set to ensure they take their rightful place in boosting social and economic development in the country.Many women have already begun registering as voters, and w...
JEDDAH: Only 7,034 Saudis have so far registered in Riyadh and the Eastern Province for the Dec. 12 municipal council elections, a local publication reported Wednesday.The elections, held for the third time in the Kingdom, are expected to attract a r...
JEDDAH: A total of 66,000 Nigerians will perform Haj this year, according to the National Haj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).The first group of 300 pilgrims arrived Sunday, sources at the Nigerian embassy said. “The first flight that took off from th...
RIYADH: The Passports Department has announced that there will be heavy fines for people transporting Haj pilgrims without licenses.There would be fines of up to SR100,000, a two-year-prison sentence and deportation for anyone found harboring or prov...
RIYADH: The Public Education Evaluation Commission (PEEC) head said on Wednesday that private schools will undergo performance evaluation in the next two to three weeks by local specialists who have just finished their training under the organization...
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has announced that the country’s citizens are safe in Lebanon, but has joined Kuwait and Bahrain in issuing advisories warning its citizens not to travel there.Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Asiri said Tuesday that the embassy h...
RIYADH: Assistant Director General for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at the Ministry of Health (MoH) Mansour Al-Suaidan has been selected by the Kent, Leonard, Adam and Scott (KLAS) as the only Arab advisory board member.“Mansour Al...
JEDDAH: The local Pakistani Journalists Forum (PJF), in cooperation with the Consulate General of Pakistan, celebrated the country’s 69th Independence Day, where children thrilled the audience with patriotic songs.Pakistan Consul General Aftab A. Kho...
JEDDAH: The Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh has sentenced an Algerian expatriate to 18 months in jail for overstaying his Umrah visa. The court also found evidence that he tried cross the Saudi border to fight in Syria, a local publication repor...
JEDDAH: An official at the Ministry of Labor confirmed that ministry will launch an e-recruitment service via the Musaned website next week. The service will allow employers to apply for visas without the need to visit labor offices.Ahmad Al-Ghamdi,...
RIYADH: A new Saudi program on television called “Security of the Kingdom” will go on air on Tabah Channel starting on the first week of September, according to Dr. Mohsin Shaikh Al-Hassan, the program’s host.“The program is important and timely beca...

Stay Connected

Facebook