Clashes in Egypt’s Port Said as police move prisoners

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Protesters clashed with police Sunday in the Egyptian city of Port Said as the interior ministry decided to move 39 prisoners awaiting a verdict over alleged involvement in a deadly football riot, a security official said.

A health ministry bulletin said 253 people were injured in the clashes as the army reported that one policeman was killed, army officer wounded.

The verdict, expected next Saturday, is for the remaining defendants in a case which resulted in death sentences in January for 21 defendants, sparking clashes that killed at least 40 people.

A security official said protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at the police station in the restive Suez Canal city, where a general strike entered its third week. Police responded with tear gas.

The interior ministry said it decided to move prisoners from Port Said, starting with the 39 remaining defendants over the February 2012 football violence, because it wanted to avoid unrest.

Protesters on Saturday torched a police station in Port Said and prevented fire engines from reaching the blaze.

Residents of Port Said and other canal cities have long complained that Cairo marginalizes them.

Last year’s football riot which killed 74 people, mostly supporters of a visiting Cairo team, exacerbated Port Said’s isolation, they say.