Update: One killed in Port Said after football fans clash with troops

Update: One killed in Port Said after football fans clash with troops

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Fri, 23/03/2012 - 23:57

One person has been killed and 18 injured in clashes between security forces and angry football fans in Port Said after the Masry club was banned for two seasons following the Port Said Stadium massacre, Al Jazeera reported.

“One was shot dead, in the back, and 18 were injured in the clashes, two of them are suffering gunshot wounds,” a medical source told Al-Jazeera.

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) said the club was banned for two seasons following the pitch invasion that killed 74 fans on 1 February when Port Said-based Masry beat Cairo's Ahly team, the most successful club in Africa.

Port Said Stadium, where the violence took place, will be closed for three years, the EFA said, and Masry will be reinstated to the premier league for the 2013/14 season.

Hundreds of football fans took to the streets of Port Said, infuriated by the decision. Clashes started when some fans tried to storm a Suez Canal administrative building. Witnesses said the army used tear gas and fired shots in the air to disperse the protesters.

The clashes began late on Friday and continued into the early hours of Saturday, witnesses said.

Masry fans have repeatedly denied responsibility for the February massacre, saying that the attack was plotted by members of the former regime.

Steel doors at the stadium were bolted shut during the violence, trapping fans trying to escape from the stands, and the stadium lights were turned off. Dozens were crushed to death and at least 1,000 people were injured.

Many blamed the government for failing to send enough police to the stadium given the tense build-up to the match, and many believe the violence was started by hired thugs. Police and stadium officials were also blamed for failing to confiscate fireworks, knives and other weapons from people entering the stadium.

Prosecutors referred 75 people, including nine security officials in Port Said, to the criminal court on March 15 to face trial over the violence.