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Death toll climbs after Egypt soccer protests

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:17 AM EST, Sat February 4, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Twelve people have died during protests
  • The protests began after a riot at a soccer game
  • Many claim there was inadequate security for the riot

Cairo (CNN) -- Twelve people died over two days in clashes between Egyptian police and protesters amid reports of inadequate security at a soccer match that devolved into a riot in which 79 fans were killed, officials said Saturday.

Seven people, including a police officer, were killed in Cairo, the Health Ministry reported. Five were killed in Suez, all by gunshot wounds, the ministry said.

The deaths tolls were revised because of a fluid situation and differing reports from ambulances and the morgue.

Another 10 people were in critical condition in a Suez hospital, the ministry said.

Protests escalate after soccer riot
Egyptian activist on Cairo soccer clashes
African football in shock over riots
Inside the stadium

More than 2,500 people were injured near the Interior Ministry in Cairo over two days, officials said.

The latest demonstrations come amid a period of mourning for those who died at the match Wednesday in the Mediterranean city of Port Said. Fans of the hometown Al-Masry club stormed the field after a 3-1 win over Cairo's Al-Ahly club. Rival fans battled with rocks and chairs, and witnesses said many of the Al-Masry fans carried knives and sticks.

Many suffocated in the crush of bodies as fans attempt to flee the stadium found their escape blocked by a locked steel gate, survivors said.

In the aftermath, horrified fans questioned why police had not stopped the Al-Masry fans from rushing the visitors' stands, why exits were barred and how fans were able to take weapons into the stadium.

Thousands of protesters, waving Al-Ahly flags, gathered outside the Interior Ministry on Friday, prompting riot police to deploy tear gas.

Gen. Marwan Mustapha, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said protesters who had taken over a government taxation building were throwing Molotov cocktails from the roof. Nearly 200 police officers were injured, several by birdshot, Mustapha said.

Fires broke out in Cairo, and further clashes were reported Friday in Suez and Alexandria.

The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said in a statement that the country "is passing in a sensitive and difficult time that is considered the most dangerous and important in Egypt's history."

The statement continued, "The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has always reiterated to the military forces that peaceful protests are a right to all people to state their demands."

The soccer violence reignited demands for Egypt's military-led government to make reforms and improve security.

Several Port Said officials have either resigned or been suspended.

Police have charged 52 people in connection with the riots.

Journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy contributed to this report.

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