March 4, 2013 - 10:35 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The military intervened in clashes between thousands of protesters and police in a restive Egyptian canal city on Sunday, March 3 the latest in a cycle of violence that killed two security members and two civilians, and which continues to rock Egypt two years after the uprising that ousted longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, AP said.
Around 5,000 protesters threw rocks and firebombs at police in Port Said late Sunday, the scene of a civil strike now in its second week. Riot police responded with tear gas and bird shot in street battles that lasted for hours.
The battle outside the police and government buildings started early Sunday and continued until past midnight. At one point, Egyptian soldiers intervened by forming a line between the two sides, as protesters climbed the tanks chanting support for the country's armed forces that, unlike the police, have not cracked down on rioters in the city. "The people and the army are one hand!" the demonstrators shouted, urging the soldiers to side with them.
Health official Helmy el-Afani said 325 people were injured in the clashes. Most suffered tear gas inhalation while others were wounded by bird shot. The Interior Ministry said one policeman was killed by gunfire, and one soldier and at least 10 policemen were wounded. A medical official in Port Said later said one of the policemen died of his gunshot wounds and two civilians were killed but the cause of their deaths was not immediately clear. He was speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Many residents of Port Said are demanding retribution for what they claim was excessive police force that led to the deaths of more than 40 civilians in late January.