Sunday, February 5, 2012

Egypt clashes rage into fourth day

CAIRO — Protesters and riot police fought pitched battles in Cairo on Sunday as clashes sparked by the perceived failure of Egypt's military rulers to prevent deadly football-linked violence raged into a fourth day.

Hundreds of riot police blocked roads leading to the interior ministry headquarters in the centre of the capital, firing tear gas to keep dozens of rock-throwing protesters at bay.

Police erected a concrete block wall on Mansur Street, which has become the nerve centre of the deadly clashes, while entrenching themselves behind coils of barbed wire on other roads.

Demonstrators hurling stones and petrol bombs at the police lines cheered when their comrades brought back a captured man they said was a plain-clothes officer. Others tried to shield him from the protesters' kicks and punches.

As noon approached the fighting decreased, but threatened to escalate as it had over the past three days, when the violence picked up towards the evening.

Earlier on Sunday, the police had moved on protesters' positions in the rock-strewn streets, firing birdshot and arresting medics at a field hospital, one doctor, Mustafa Nabil, told AFP. The medics were later released, he said.

The protesters denied they intended to storm the ministry, several hundred metres (yards) from Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the uprising that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak a year ago but left the military in charge. Read More