Deadly clashes in Egypt after football club banned

Egyptian riot policemen stand guard as a flare is thrown during a football match between al-Masry and al-Ahly in Port Said on February 1, 2012.

A 13-year-old boy has been shot dead during overnight clashes between football fans and security forces in Egypt’s Port Said after the city’s football team was suspended, officials said Saturday.

The official Al-Ahram newspaper reported that the boy died in hospital after being shot in the back, while dozens of people were injured as the army tried to stop hundreds of angry fans of the al-Masry club from reaching the Suez Canal, according to the BBC.

Al-Masry was suspended for two years by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) over violence that erupted at its stadium last month, in which at least 74 people died. The EFA has also cancelled all matches at Port Said stadium for three years. A criminal investigation into February’s violence is underway.

Hundreds of fans took to the streets of Port Said late Friday to protest the ruling, besieging the Suez Canal Authority building and shutting down roads leading to the coastal Mediterranean city, Reuters reported.

Military police fired shots in the air to try to dispense the protesters, 18 of whom were injured during the clashes – two with gunshot wounds.

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February’s violence broke out when al-Masry supporters invaded the pitch after beating their long-standing rivals from Cairo, al-Ahly, and started attacking the visiting team’s players and fans.

Most of the casualties died from suffocation as they were caught in the stampede to flee the stadium, according to the Agence France Presse. However, rumors that police had failed to intervene sparked days of violence across Egypt, in which a further 16 people died.

Many Egyptians believe the riot was orchestrated by supporters of Hosni Mubarak or the police, as al-Ahly’s most ardent supporters, the Ultras, were heavily involved in the popular revolt that overthrew the former Egyptian president last year. 

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