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Mar 03, 2013 at 08:58am IST

Egypt: Violent protests erupt in Port Said as activists accuse police of excessive force

Cairo: A police station was set on fire in Port Said after protesters clashed with the police. The incident took place when the protesters tried to stop a police car from passing through a blockade.

Five people were also injured in the incident. Activists accused police of using excessive force in two cities and running over protesters, including one who was crushed to death by an armoured vehicle.

The violence in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura and the Suez Canal city of Port Said came as US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo meeting with opposition figures. Liberals and seculars are angry that Washington is urging them to take part in parliamentary elections and see US support for the vote as backing for President Mohammed Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood party.

Egypt: Violent protests erupt in Port Said

Liberals and seculars are angry that Washington is urging them to take part in parliamentary elections.

At least two of those invited said they declined to meet Kerry. The two cities, Mansoura and Port Said, have been calling for a civil disobedience campaign to bring down Mursi. The Interior Ministry, embattled by months of protests aimed at against its forces, called on political groups to reign in protesters in Mansoura who stormed the city's old police headquarters this evening.

Protesters and opposition parties accuse Mursi and the Brotherhood of trying to monopolise power and of reneging on promises of reform. They also want parts of a new constitution amended and are calling for the formation of a more inclusive government.

The US State Department said Kerry had a telephone conversation with opposition figurehead and Nobel laureate Mohammed ElBaradei, who heads the opposition National Salvation Front. Kerry also met with Amr Moussa, a longtime diplomat and prominent figure in the group. Kerry was scheduled to meet with Mursi on Sunday.

(With Additional Inputs From AP)

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