New Delhi: The Egypt police shot and killed two protesters in Suez early on Friday, a health official said, the first to die in clashes that erupted around the country after a riot at a soccer stadium killed 74, as sports violence spiraled into a new political crisis for Egypt.
A three-day mourning period was also announced for the 80 victims of Wednesday's violence.
Protesters blame police for failing to control the riot after the soccer game in Port Said. In Cairo, thousands demonstrated on Thursday in front of the Interior Ministry, which oversees the police. Demonstrators threw rocks, and police responded with clouds of tear gas. Hundreds were treated by medics.
In Suez, witnesses said about 3,000 people demonstrated in front of police headquarters after news spread that one of the victims in the Port Said riot was from their city.
Police responded with tear gas and then opened fire, witnesses said. Health official Mohammed Lasheen said two men were killed by bullets. Fifteen other protesters were wounded, he said.
The deaths of 74 people Wednesday night in a post-match stadium riot in the Mediterranean city of Port Said fueled anger at Egypt's ruling military and the already widely distrusted police forces. Many in the public and in the newly elected parliament blamed the leadership for letting it happen – whether from a lack of control or, as some alleged, on purpose.
Survivors of the riot described a nightmarish scene in the stadium. Police stood by doing nothing, they said, as fans of the winning home team, Al-Masry, attacked supporters of the top Cairo club, Al-Ahly, stabbing them and throwing them off bleachers.
A narrow exit corridor turned into a death trap as crowds of fans fled into it, only to be crushed against a locked gate as their rivals attacked them from behind.
A network of zealous Al-Ahly soccer fans known as Ultras vowed vengeance, accusing the police of intentionally letting rivals attack them because they have been among the most aggressive of Egypt's revolutionaries. Ultras were at the forefront of the anti-government uprising – first against toppled leader Hosni Mubarak a year ago and now against the military that took his place in power.
"Either they will die or we will die," one Ultra said, referring to the police, as he joined a march by some 10,000 people on the Cairo headquarters of the Interior Ministry, which oversees the security forces. He would only give his first name, Islam, for fear of reprisal by police.
With additional information from Associated Press