An Egyptian court ruling Saturday morning infuriated fans of two rival soccer clubs, leading to protests from supporters from both teams that saw a police social club and the Egyptian soccer federation building lit on fire. Saturday morning, a Port Said judge, operating in Cairo for security reasons, confirmed a January ruling sentencing 21 supporters of Port Said's Al-Masry soccer club to death. They were originally sentenced in January for their roles in the deadly soccer riots on February 1, 2012, that killed at least 74 people. Supporters of the al-Masry squad stormed the pitch after defeating their rivals, the Cairo-based al-Ahly, and began throwing fireworks and debris at al-Ahly fans. The ruling in January also sparked violence that killed 21 people.
The judge also announced a number of acquittals of al-Masry fans, which set off the protests in Cairo Saturday morning. Al-Ahly supporters had warned any acquittals would draw their ire. They responded to the news by setting a social club for police officers on fire, as well as the main building for Egypt's soccer federation. In Port Said, al-Masry supporters furious with the upholding of the death sentences attempted (but failed) to disrupt commercial ships from entering and doing business from the Suez Canal.
Egypt's security forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to try and disperse the protestors, which led to at least two people dying during Saturday's clashes. A number of Egyptians don't trust the police force to begin with, stemming from the role they played in enforcing the harsh rule of Hosni Mubarak.
The photos coming out of Egypt are the craziest part. The photo above is smoke simultaneously rising from the soccer federation headquarters and the police club. In this one, you can see black smoke billowing out of the soccer headquarters:
This is perhaps an even better shot of the burning soccer building:
This shot of a man walking past the police club while it burns is just amazing:
One AP photographer caught two police men desperately trying to put out the blaze at the club:
They didn't succeed, though. This Reuters photo shows what the place looked like after the fire was, eventually, put out:
[All photos are courtesy of the AP unless otherwise stated.]
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