At least two protesters were killed here Saturday and 70 others were injured in clashes involving fans of Cairo soccer club Al-Ahly and security forces, Egyptian authorities told Efe.
The victims of the clashes - one of whom died of tear-gas asphyxiation and the other from buckshot wounds - were killed outside the downtown Semiramis hotel, officials said.
The demonstrators threw rocks and fired flares at the security forces.
Those clashes occurred hours after thousands of Al-Ahly fans set fire Saturday morning to a police officers’ club complex and the headquarters of the Egyptian Soccer Federation in Cairo.
The protests erupted after a Cairo court early Saturday handed down prison sentences for a February 2012 massacre at a soccer stadium in Port Said. The Al-Ahly supporters took to the streets because they deemed the sentences too lenient.
In a continuation of an earlier ruling in January, the court affirmed death sentences against 21 people convicted in the deadly riot and also sentenced five people to life behind bars and 19 others to various prison terms.
But its decision to acquit 28 defendants touched off the violent protests. Seven police officers were among those acquitted, while Port Said’s former security chief, Maj. Gen. Essam Samak, and a second police official got 15-year prison terms.
A total of 74 people died at Port Said Stadium on Feb. 1, 2012, in clashes between Al-Ahly supporters and fans of local team Al-Masry, who stormed the field after their team’s 3-1 victory. Most of those killed were supporters of the Cairo club.
The Cairo court’s initial January ruling sparked riots in Port Said that left more than 40 dead.
On Saturday, hundreds of people who had gathered in a downtown square of that Mediterranean city reacted with anger and sorrow upon hearing the ruling.
“My son, my dear son is innocent,” a woman shouted inconsolably upon learning that Ahmed Al-Mansi had been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Surrounded by relatives and friends, the woman told Efe that the sentence was “unjust,” saying her son is only 18 and is going to lose the best years of his life behind bars.
“Why did he go to that game?” the anguished mother asked rhetorically.