A Cairo criminal court has sentenced an Egyptian policeman to life in prison for the killing of a street vendor in an incident that ignited demonstrations against police brutality.

Egypt's state-run news agency says El-Sayed Zeinhom Abdel-Razzeq was sentenced Wednesday after being charged with killing the vendor and attempting to kill two others earlier this year in an argument over the price of a cup of tea.

The killing brought angry crowds into the street, and photo and video clips posted online at the time showed them smashing a police vehicle and blocking a road. Anger at police brutality was one of the main grievances behind the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Sentences imposed on policemen in Egypt are often reduced upon appeal.