Update: 7 reported dead in Port Said funeral violence
CAIRO: At least 7 people are reported to have been killed and over 600 injured in violent clashes in Port Said that erupted after police fired on funeral processions following the killing of 33 people after a court in the same city sentenced 21 people to death for their role in a February 2012 football stadium massacre.
According to a reporter for the UK Independent, the attack on the funeral procession was “calculated” and led to widespread violence and chaos in the city, with nearly the entire city in the streets. Anger is high.
“Whoever fired gas at funeral did so from deep within their compound with no provocation at all. It was calculated,” wrote Alastair Beach on his personal Twitter account.
In response to the attack by the Central Security Forces (CSF), angry protesters set fire to the police club and clashes have become near constant. Activists in the city have described the events as a war zone. At first, some accused the military of firing live ammunition at the funeral process, but the army has denied using gunfire on civilians.
“The armed forces did not fire live shots at protesters and no one fell victim due to army bullets,” the spokesman said in a statement on the army’s official Facebook page.
Saturday’s violence erupted after families of the defendants sentenced to death converged on the prison using live ammunition.
The Armed Forces said it decided on Saturday to deploy units from its second army to maintain stability in Port Said and protect the public facilities, reported the Middle East News Agency.
An Egyptian judge early morning Saturday sentenced 21 defendants for their role in the Port Said football massacre that left at least 75 people dead on February 1, 2012. The names of those sentenced for capital punishment have been sent to the Grand Mufti, who must approve the death sentence before it can be carried out.
As the judge was announcing the verdict, cheers from the families of those killed in the violence reacted with cries as for them, justice is being served.
Across Egypt, violent clashes continue to occur, including in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
“The situation in many cities became street wars,” said the April 6 Youth Movement in a statement.
“The ministry of interior is using residential buildings’ rooftops to target protesters. Is this the ministry of interior policy in the era of Morsi?” the statement continued.