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Protesters clash with police in Cairo as anger mounts

From Ben Wedeman and Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, CNN
updated 3:54 PM EST, Sun February 5, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Official: "Egypt is facing a dangerous situation that is not simple to deal with"
  • More than 200 security forces injured in clashes, deputy minister says
  • In Cairo, demonstrators throw rocks at police, who respond with tear gas
  • A prominent anti-Mubarak protester is injured, associate says

Cairo (CNN) -- Demonstrators clashed with police outside the Interior Ministry in Cairo on Sunday as anger mounts over a deadly stampede at a soccer match that killed dozens last week.

Protesters outside the ministry threw rocks at police, who responded with tear gas.

Fires erupted at a nearby shopping center while more than 200 women demonstrated outside parliament, chanting anti-military slogans and demanding control of the country be handed over to civilian power.

Protests have rocked Egypt's capital since a riot erupted at a soccer match in Port Said city Wednesday, killing more than 80. Rival fans battled with rocks and chairs, with a crush of bodies suffocating as crowds attempted to flee and found their escape blocked by a locked steel gate, survivors said.

Nine dead as Egypt protests continue
Egyptian activist on Cairo soccer clashes
African football in shock over riots

After the riots, throngs of angry protesters rallied in the streets across Egypt, demanding that the military-led government make reforms and improve security.

"Egypt is facing a dangerous situation that is not simple to deal with," Deputy Interior Minister Gen. Ahmed Gamal El Din said in a statement Sunday.

More than 200 security forces have been injured as clashes broke out nationwide, he said. In Suez, some fired at police with machine guns, he said. Prisoners were at large after attacks on police stations.

At least 40 protesters have been arrested nationwide.

Every time "we advance and things start settling, something happens," he said.

But some protesters argued that police were behind the violence, firing on protesters with gas and live ammunition to retaliate.

"They are spreading false slogans to kill the revolution," said a statement from the Egyptian Revolutionary Alliance, a bloc of secular and democratic opposition groups.

The alliance staged a protest outside the general prosecutor's office Sunday, calling for his removal from the post and accusing of him of negligence in trials of former President Hosni Mubarak and his aides.

Meanwhile, the co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement who was a major participant in the protests to topple Hosni Mubarak was hospitalized Saturday with a skull fracture, according to a friend.

Ahmed Maher was hit in the head with a heavy object while trying to negotiate an end to the latest protests outside the tax ministry, said Waleed Rashed, the co-founder of the youth group.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for his injury. CNN could not immediately confirm Rashed's claim.

The military-led government has said that the country is undergoing a "sensitive and difficult time that is considered the most dangerous" and crucial to the nation's history.

"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," it said in a recent statement.

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