Egypt protesters occupy soccer HQ and seek to block Suez
Anger erupts on confirmation of death sentences over 74 Port Said stadium fatalities
People in Port Said celebrate with a military officer after hearing the final verdict of the 2012 Port Said massacre, in Port Said city. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters
Fire damage is inspected at Egyptian Soccer Federation premises after Al-Ahly fans, also known as "Ultras", set it ablaze following the confirmation of death sentences earlier for 21 football fans for their role in a stadium riot which killed dozens of people in Port Said last year. Photograph: Amr Abdallah
Egyptian protesters in Port Said have untied moored speedboats used to supply shipping on the Suez Canal, apparently hoping the boats would drift into the waterway and disrupt passing vessels, witnesses said.
About 2,000 protesters also blocked car ferries from crossing the canal, following a court's confirmation earlier today of death sentences against 21 local soccer fans in relation to a deadly stadium melee in Port Said last year.
Meanwhile, fans of Cairo’s Al-Ahly club stormed Egypt’s football federation headquarters, setting it ablaze in anger after a court acquitted seven of nine police officials on trial for their alleged role in the deaths. The two other officers were sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Military police in Port Said recovered five of the speedboats and brought them back to shore, but two were still drifting, one witness told Reuters.
The city, at the northern entrance to the canal, has suffered frequent eruptions of violence since the death sentences against the fans were first handed down in January for their role in the stadium riot that resulted in the deaths of 74 people.
Until now they had declared the canal, a major artery for global shipping, off limits for the protests apart from on one occasion, when red balloons marked "SOS" were floated into the waterway. The Suez Canal is a major local employer.
In Cairo, other soccer fans set fire to a police social club, with plumes of smoke rising over the capital.
It was not immediately clear whether Al-Ahly fans were responsible for that blaze as well.
Heavy black smoke billowed out of the rose-coloured, three-storey neo-colonial building in central Cairo.