Ministry of Health ambulances rush to scene of clashes in Port Said to transport to the injured, Port Said, Sunday (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Following late-night clashes between police and protesters in Port Said, the pivotal city at the Suez Canal, the government reports five deaths, including three civilians and two policemen.
Early Monday, Port Said's undersecretary at the health ministry Helmy El-Efni announced that four deaths have been reported.
The two civilians died of skull fractures: sixteen year-old Sayed Ali El-Sayed from a heavy metal object thrown from the top of the central governorate building and Abdel Rahman El Said Ali, 22 years old, after being hit to the head by bricks also thrown from the top of the building.
The other two, the Interior Ministry says, were conscripts: Ibrahim Abdel-Azim Mostafa and Alaa Mohamed El-Shawadfi, killed as a result of gunshot wounds to the head and neck by unknown assailants that randomly fired near the Port Said security directorate.
The identity of the fifth death is yet to be disclosed.
Cairo health ministry sources say over 500 were injured in clashes last night. Three hundred of those suffered tear gas suffocation, 43 gunshot wounds (4 policemen and 40 civilians) and 20 miscellaneous injuries. Moreover, four of the injured were transported from the Port Said hospital to Cairo, while two others were transported to the Eye Surgery Centre in Mansoura for treatment.
Clashes broke out Sunday as police fired intense rounds of teargas throughout the day at demonstrators who opposed an interior ministry decision to transfer 39 prisoners from the Suez Canal city to the other side of the Nile Delta in Wadi Natroun jail in Beheira governorate. The prisoners were convicted in the first round of a highly-publicised case of a deadly attack during a football match in Port Said stadium that killed more than 70 Ahly fans in February 2012.
This comes ahead of the expected second phase of Port Said trial scheduled for 9 March, where the 52 remaining defendants out of the total 73 will be issued verdicts.
Thousands of Port Said residents have been conducting a campaign of civil disobedience during the past two weeks to protest marginalisation policies at the hands of the central government and to demand justice for more than 40 killed in clashes with the police on 26 January as they were demonstrating on the second anniversary of the January 25 Revolution.
In an unusual twist, several media outlets gave conflicting reports of police and army soldiers exchanging fire at the end of the tense day. Egyptian armed forces official Spokesperson Colonel Ahmed Ali denied the reports on his Facebook page Sunday night.