Last updated: 31 March, 2012

Egypt football disaster trial on April 17

Seventy-five people are to stand trial on April 17 in connection with football riots last month in the northern city of Port Said that left more than 70 people dead, state news agency MENA said Saturday.

Nine policemen are among the defendants in the trial, which will be held in Cairo for security reasons, it reported.

On February 1, clashes in the Suez Canal city of Port Said between fans of home side Al-Masry and Cairo’s Al-Ahly erupted at the final whistle.

Al-Masry fans invaded the pitch after their team beat the visitors 3-1, throwing rocks, bottles and fireworks at Al-Ahly supporters, causing chaos and panic as players and fans fled in all directions.

The violence marked one of the deadliest incidents in football history, and came amid charges from witnesses that security forces did little to prevent the rioting.

The stadium deaths sparked days of violent protests in Cairo, in which another 16 people were killed.

Many believe the football riot was orchestrated either by the police or supporters of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, a reflection of distrust towards Egypt’s ruling military.