Egyptian Clashes Over Soccer Sentencing Leave 27 Dead

Egypt’s army was deployed in Port Said after 27 people were killed in clashes between police and supporters of 21 defendants sentenced to death for their role in the nation’s worst-ever soccer disaster.

The rioting began in the city after a criminal court handed down sentences earlier today for those convicted of killing more than 70 fans during a game on Feb. 1 between Port Said’s al-Masri team and Cairo’s al-Ahly club. More than 300 people were injured, Abdel Rahman Farah, head of hospitals at Port Said Health Authority, said by phone.

The violence over the soccer-deaths case followed overnight clashes between security forces and opponents of President Mohamed Mursi that left at least nine people dead and 534 injured, the Health Ministry said. The nationwide demonstrations were held on the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

A final verdict in the soccer case is scheduled for March 9. It will come after a review by the Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, Egypt’s highest religious authority, the court in Cairo said.

The military was deployed early today in Suez, site of the majority of the fatalities, in a bid to protect state institutions.