Protestors lay siege to Egypt’s Interior Ministry

Protesters have launched an offensive on the Interior Ministry in Cairo today following the deaths of 74 people at a football match on Wednesday.

Police and security forces tried without success to keep the protests under control using tear gas.

Thousands of protestors have been throwing rocks at the ministry building throughout the night, and Reuters reported that some hard core protestors had moved aside a concrete barrier placed by security forces to try and get closer for a better aim. There have also been reports of gunshots being fired.

According to figures released from the health ministry,  1,482 people have already been injured in the protests, mostly due to tear gas inhalation. Additionally, four protestors have been killed in Suez, where protests are also taking place, by police using bird-shot and live ammunition to try and control protestors.

In what has been deemed the ‘Friday of Anger’ by some hard core youth protestors, further unrest is expected after Friday prayers.

Protestor Ahmad Aggour on Twitter claims to have been injured by the police forces. His tweets read “We pushed forward a little bit. Now they are showering up with rubber bullets,” followed shortly by “Got shot in the leg. Bleeding. Can’t Walk.”

Reuters also reported that during the night a police van had taken a wrong turn into a street full of protestors and been surrounded until an ambulance was called to assist it.

The deaths at the football match on Wednesday were caused after fans of the the winning team al-Masry surged onto the pitch toward supporters of the opposing team, Ah Ahly. Ah Ahly fans then tried to escape the area but the doors were bolted shut causing people to be crushed in the mayhem. The police have been accused by the protestors of allowing the killings to happen in what has been described as retaliation against Cairo football fans for their part in past clashes with the authorities.

A funeral service is being held in Tahrir Square today in remembrance of those lost on Wednesday.

Egypt’s Interior Ministry has accepted the resignation of the governor of Port Said, where the match took place, over the deaths, and claims it has interrogated 50 people in an effort to find out who instigated the violence. An article in the Guardian says that there have been some reports by witnesses that the violence was caused by hired thugs.

Mohamed  Hamouda, an Ah Ahly supporter, said “A police officer told supporters to come on to the pitch” and “The gates on to the pitch were opened on purpose by someone before the game started.”

He continued: “The gate at the exit was also closed by someone on purpose. I saw people yesterday with knives and swords. I don’t know them, they were not from Port Said.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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