379 Egypt protesters pardoned, charges dropped

Associated Press
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An Egyptian protester waves a flare during a rally of thousands of soccer fans of Egypt's most popular team, Al-Ahly, in Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. Fans called for revenge a week before a court verdict is expected over last year's Port Said football stadium disaster, which killed 72 fans. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian criminal court has invoked a presidential amnesty and dismissed charges against 379 people accused of taking part in deadly clashes with police.

The charges stem from nearly two weeks of street fighting on downtown Cairo's Mohammed Mahmoud street in November 2011 that left 42 people dead.

Young protesters, mostly die-hard soccer fans known as Ultras, led demonstrations against police near the Interior Ministry and Tahrir Square, the hub of Cairo's activist movement. They were demanding a timetable for the military officers who were then ruling the country to hand over power and hold presidential elections, and denouncing violent security crackdowns on sit-ins.

Judge Gamal Eddin Rushdi said Saturday that his decision was based on the pardon issued by President Mohammed Morsi.