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Three shot dead in Egypt clashes

Published 03/02/2012

Egyptian protesters run from tear gas fired by security forces during clashes near the interior ministry in Cairo (AP)
Egyptian protesters run from tear gas fired by security forces during clashes near the interior ministry in Cairo (AP)
Protesters move barbed wire set up by Egyptian military near Tahrir Square in Cairo (AP)
The Cairo protests were sparked by riots at a football stadium in Port Said which left more than 70 people dead (AP)

Three people have been shot dead in clashes between Egyptian police and protesters angry over a football match riot that left 74 dead.

One man died just feet away from the Interior Ministry, in Cairo which has become a target for demonstrators furious that the police failed to prevent a soccer riot that killed 74 people in the Mediterranean city of Port Said.

Protesters turned their rallies in Cairo and the city of Suez into a call for Egypt's ruling military council to surrender power because of what they say is the army's mismanagement of the country's transition to democracy. More rallies were planned.

A volunteer doctor said the man in Cairo died of wounds from birdshot fired at close range. The doctor said his field hospital close to Cairo's Tahrir Square was overwhelmed with the wounded overnight.

Earlier, two protesters died by police gunfire in clashes with security forces in Suez, witnesses said. Officials denied they were killed by police gunfire.

About 3,000 people had demonstrated in front of the city's police headquarters and police fired tear gas and live ammunition, witnesses said. A third protester in Suez was in critical condition because of a wound to the neck.

In Cairo, rallies spiralled into violent clashes between the protesters and police as demonstrators charged toward the Interior Ministry, which oversees the police. Thousands threw rocks, and police responded with tear gas and birdshot.

The Interior Ministry urged the protesters in a statement "to listen to the sound of wisdom ... at these critical moments" and prevent the spread of chaos.

Wednesday's deaths of 74 people in a post-match stadium riot in Port Said fuelled anger at Egypt's ruling military generals and the already widely distrusted police force. The police were notorious as the key tool of oppression of the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a popular uprising last February.

Many in the public and in the newly elected parliament blamed the new leadership for letting the soccer riot happen - whether due to a lack of control by the security forces, or as some allege, intentionally.

Press Association

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