Soccer fans protesting defendants' move

Jan. 22, 2013 at 10:23 AM

PORT SAID, Egypt, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Thousands of soccer fans gathered at the Port Said stadium to protest officials' plans to move 73 suspects to Cairo for the verdict in a soccer riots case.

Authorities planned to move the defendants for the reading of the verdict out of fear of possible rioting, al-Masry al-Youm reported Tuesday.

The 73 suspects are on trial for allegedly killing more than 70 people during a riot following a Premiere League soccer match between Ahly and Masry. Thousands of Masry fans descended onto the pitch at the end of a game attacked Ahly fans on Feb. 1.

A group of hardcore Masry fans, the Ultras Green Eagles, protested the potential move for the verdict.

"If there is insistence to transfer the defendants to Cairo, you should expect a big massacre and victims on both sides," said one member of the group, whose name was not reported. "We have written our wills and will fight for the rights of our comrades."

Mohsen Rady, Port Said's security chief, said the interior minister's assistant for public security said the ministry is against transferring the defendants to Cairo.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said they had new evidence, which they planned to forward to the Port Said Criminal Court Tuesday.

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