Clashes following football verdicts in Egypt leave 30 dead

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Deadly clashes broke out in the Egyptian city of Port Said today, leaving at least 28 people dead after a court sentenced 21 local football fans to death for their role in a post-match riot in which 74 people were killed last year.

Chaos broke out as soon as the verdict was pronounced as family members of those sentenced clashed with security forces, attacked police stations and tried to storm the prison holding the convicts.

The violence came at a time when unrest is sweeping Egypt on the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak. Clashes marking the revolution's second anniversary yesterday left at least nine people dead and 530 injured.

Two police officers and 26 civilians have been killed and over 280 have been injured in the clashes since the verdict was read this morning, said a report in Al Ahram newspaper.

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse the angry crowd trying to break into the prison, as family members of those sentenced screamed and wailed across the streets.

The verdict was greeted by cheers from relatives of the victims.

All 21 defendants sentenced to death were fans of Port Said club al-Masry, who were accused of attacking and killing fans of the Cairo club al-Ahly during a match.

A section of al-Ahly supporters, known as the "ultras", had played a prominent role in the protests against Mubarak, and many accused supporters of the former president of instigating the violence in the Port Said match.

Taken aback by the level of violence, security officials said the military is being deployed to Port Said. This is the second such deployment in less than 24 hours.

The army has already taken control of the Suez Canal out of fear that the violence might affect the Canal.

Army was forced to deploy its forces in the Suez after the security affiliated with the Interior Ministry lost control there last night after eight died in clashes with security there.

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