Death toll in Egypt clashes climbs to 35
Cairo: The toll in the fierce clashes in the Egyptian city of Port Said following pronouncement of death sentence to 21 football fans climbed to 35 on Sunday, authorities said, as the Presidency condemned the violence and called for a national dialogue.
Condemning the clashes that also left over 300 people injured yesterday, the Presidency called for a national dialogue in the wake of the ongoing unrest.
In a statement, it also praised police and judiciary for their integrity.
The Presidency`s statement came as the Health Ministry said the death toll in the fierce clashes between protesters and security forces in Port Said had climbed to 31.
Chaos broke out soon after a court yesterday handed down the death penalty to 21 fans of Port Said club Al-Masry over the killing of 74 people in post-match violence last February following a game with Cairo side Al-Ahly.
The violence yesterday came at a time when unrest was sweeping Egypt on the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.
Clashes marking the revolution`s second anniversary on Friday left at least nine people dead and 530 injured.
The Egyptian army also posted a short statement on its Facebook page yesterday, saying it stands at an equal distance from all political parties, and reiterated that it is loyal to the Egyptians.
Meanwhile, Egypt`s main opposition bloc National Salvation Front announced that it will not participate in the next Parliamentary elections in the wake of the chaos and division in the country.
Unrest also gripped the city centre of the capital Cairo,
where fresh clashes took place between security forces and protesters in the premises of the Ministry of the Interior.
Army was deployed to protect the Suez Canal, amid reports that fire was opened on a ship carrying the Greek flag.
Protesters had stormed a police station in Suez following fierce clashes with security forces, and freed prisoners there.
They also took away the weapons that were left behind by policemen who fled the station as it was being stormed.
Earlier, protesters threw molotov cocktails at the police station, while security forces fired tear gas to disperse them, witnesses said.
Fire caught a nearby building as well, according to Khaled Bahgat, the head of the Civil Defence Authority.
Suez has been the site of bloody clashes since Friday, the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution which had also kicked off in the same city. Nine people were killed in the clashes and 530 others injured.
In a bid to prevent violent confrontations, the military took over the Suez security directorate from police forces last evening.
After the mass uprising of 2011 overthrew Mubarak, Egyptians for the first time elected a government of their own.
But the developments post-election have left the country sharply polarised.
The presidential vote that elected Brotherhood leader Mohamed Mursi as the president was far from overwhelming for any single candidate.
A recent referendum on the Constitution also left the country deeply divided with the secular and liberal opposition terming the draft as "too Islamist" that would compromise on the rights of the minorities.
Mursi took to Twitter to appeal for calm, urging "citizens to adhere to the values of the revolution, express opinions freely and peacefully and renounce violence".