Health ministry reports 117 injuries as Port Said clashes continue intermittently

Ahram Online , Monday 4 Mar 2013

Monday's clashes in restive canal city leave over 117 injured, according to Egypt's health ministry; local security directorate, governorate HQ in flames

Ongoing clashes in Port Said between protesters and security forces on Monday have left over 117 injured, including both civilians and security forces, according to Egypt's health ministry.

The majority of injuries were reportedly due to excessive teargas inhalation and shotguns loaded with birdshot.

Clashes broke out in the canal city on Sunday after the relatives of local residents charged with involvement in last year's Port Said stadium disaster – in which scores of football fans were killed – were told that the defendants would be transported to a prison outside the city.

Defendants' relatives attempted to storm the Port Said Security Directorate while police responded with teargas in an attempt to disperse the crowds. After the dust settled, three civilians and three security officers lay dead.

Meanwhile, fires at both the security directorate and Port Said's governorate headquarters – sparked earlier on Monday by Molotov-throwing protesters – continued to spread as of Monday night after fire-fighters failed to show up at the scene.

On Monday afternoon, Egypt's interior ministry issued a statement in which it asserted that "armed individuals" were firing randomly at both military personnel and police. The ministry went on to urge local citizens to avoid government buildings.

Port Said has witnessed a series of riots and protests since 26 January, when 21 Port Said residents were sentenced to death for their roles in last year's stadium tragedy that saw over 70 Ahly fans killed.

Families of the defendants and members of the Green Eagles – hardcore fans of Port Said football club Al-Masry – have been attempting to launch a 'civil disobedience' campaign in Port Said for over two weeks to protest what they see as unjust verdicts in the stadium trial and perceived marginalisation by the central government in Cairo.

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