One man has been shot dead and over 400 people injured in fresh clashes in the Egyptian city of Port Said. The death toll has risen to 48 as violence on the streets of Egypt continues for the fourth day in a row.
January 27, 2013
18-year-old Abdel Rahman Farag was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest, the city’s head of hospitals told Reuters. More than 416 people suffered from teargas inhalation, while 17 sustained gunshot wounds, he said.
Thousands of people turned out for the funerals of 35 rioters who were killed in Port Said on Saturday. The mourners shouted,”There is no God but Allah, and Morsi is God’s enemy” after praying for the dead at the city’s Mariam Mosque. Teargas was fired in the vicinity and gunfire was heard nearby. Emergency vehicle sirens were also heard, a witness told Reuters.
Thousands of demonstrators also gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Sunday. Protesters threw petrol bombs at riot police who were firing teargas.
Rallies have been taking place in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and half a dozen other places, many of which have become violent. Protesters have taken to the streets in greater numbers following Saturday’s death sentence verdicts over a stadium stampede last February.
Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed El-Beltagy has urged Egyptian authorities to “step in with full strength!”
Protests reach back to Friday when nine people were killed in a separate demonstration against of the Islamist Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
The outbreak of violence is a consequence of Saturday’s sentencing of 21 people to death for their role in the deaths of 74 people at a soccer stadium riot and stampede last year.
Spectators were trampled and eyewitnesses saw some thrown off balconies following a match between Al Ahly and local team al-Masri. But many eye witnesses reported police of playing a role in the deaths. The sentencing was reportedly followed by the immediate deaths of two policemen.
About 18 prisoners in Suez police stations managed to escape during the violence, a security source reported. Approximately 30 police weapons were stolen. Soldiers have taken up positions at important state facilities, including the local power and water stations, administration buildings, banks and courts.
Protests have been spreading throughout Egyptian cities since Thursday, prior to the sentencing. Opponents of Morsi have been gathering to mark the second anniversary on Friday of the beginning of the revolution that led to Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow.
Infuriated protesters report that Morsi has betrayed the economic and representative goals of the previous revolt.
“None of the revolution’s goals have been realized,” protester Mohamed Sami told Reuters.
Bel Trew, who is on the ground in Cairo, said, “There’s a lot of anger toward the president – this started just at the end of last year when he pushed through what was seen as an unpopular constitution drafted by an Islamist dominated constituent assembly. People also say that he has not made any of the changes that were called for during the January 25 revolution two years ago, so he’s really lost quite a lot of legitimacy on the streets.”
“Right now here in the capital there are clashes raging between protesters and security forces on the…lots of tear gas in the air here in down-town Cairo. Rocks have also been exchanged.”
“Security have increased their presence around government buildings, as the focus of the anger here for protesters is very much against Morsi’s administration… the situation in Egypt really descends into a bit of a crisis”