Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday expressed his sorrow over the dozens of people killed in recent violence in Port Said, following a court verdict over a deadly riot at a football match there last year.
“We are sorry for the loss of lives,” Morsi said in a televised speech, expressing his “sorrow, and that of all Egyptians, each time that a drop of blood falls on Egyptian soil.”
Morsi added that an enquiry was under way to determine who was responsible for the deadly violence.
More than 40 people have been killed in clashes between city residents and police since death sentences were handed down on January 26 against 21 people, mainly fans of the Port Said club, in the football violence trial.
An Egyptian court confirmed the death sentences on Saturday and proceeded to sentence five other people to life in prison, with 19 more receiving lesser jail terms and another 28 exonerated.
In February 2012, clashes in the Suez Canal city of Port Said between fans of home side Al-Masry and Cairo’s Al-Ahly left 74 people dead and sparked days of violent protests in Cairo, in which another 16 people were killed.
The football trial has become a ticking bomb for Morsi, who is facing a revolt in Port Said, a city that was once a bastion of his Muslim Brotherhood.