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Egypt Protesters, Police Clash After Deadly Soccer Violence

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Egypt Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters in Cairo, Mena Says
An Egyptian protester covers his face to protect it from teargas fired by riot police during clashes near the interior ministry in downtown Cairo. Photographer: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Egyptian police used tear gas to disperse protesters in Cairo and two people were reported killed in Suez as unrest persisted following violence at a soccer match this week that left more than 70 dead.

Crowds tried to storm police headquarters in both cities, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported. Demonstrators blame police for failing to prevent the violence that followed a soccer match on Feb. 1 in the coastal city of Port Said.

Two people died the Suez clashes, state television said today. Television footage showed protesters, many of them wearing masks for protection from tear gas, waving flags and throwing rocks at the Interior Ministry in downtown Cairo, where police responded by firing tear gas. One man died during the fighting in Cairo from wounds caused by birdshot fired at close range, the Associated Press said.

This week’s violence was the worst since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in a popular revolt a year ago, and the deadliest in the history of Egyptian soccer. The riots underlined the breakdown of security after the political upheavals of the past year, which has seen repeated clashes between security forces and protesters demanding that the ruling generals hand over power to civilians.

Members of the newly elected parliament yesterday demanded the government step down, and criticized the military council. Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri told lawmakers that the Port Said security chief had been suspended and the head and board of the football association fired.

The unrest sent Egypt’s benchmark stock index down 2.2 percent yesterday, the most since Dec. 22.

Footage from local television stations after the Feb. 1 game showed crowds rushing onto the field and a fire burning in the stands as police forces stood by following Al-Masry’s 3-1 home victory against Al-Ahly. Seventy-four people were killed, the state-run news agency reported, citing the health ministry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alaa Shahine in Dubai at asalha@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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