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Calm has been restored in the area around Egypt’s Interior Ministry after clashes between security forces and protesters that started Thursday stopped, at least temporarily.
An Al-Azhar scholar, accompanied by dozens of protesters from nearby Tahrir Square, managed to intervene and asked protesters and security forces on Mohamed Mahmoud Street to take a break from fighting.
The protesters led by the sheikh enlisted residents and business owners in the vicinity to try to convince the other protesters to retreat to Tahrir. But demonstrators say the police must first release their comrades who were arrested late Saturday security forces tried to construct stone walls to protect the ministry.
Police supervised by army officials built four stone walls across the streets leading to the ministry, including Falaky, Noubar, Mansour and Youssef al-Guindy streets.
Eyewitnesses said security forces pursued protesters in the area on Saturday and arrested dozens. Street vendors continued to sell gas masks, but protester-run makeshift hospitals were unable to operate because of the chases.
The clashes erupted late Thursday after angry football fans and activists marched to denouce security forces' negligence during a football game in Port Said Stadium on Wednesday, which led to violence that left 74 people dead.
Twelve people have died in the ensuing protests. The Health Ministry recorded 138 new injured protesters late Saturday.
Assistant Health Minister Hesham Sheha said only 19 of those remain at hospital. He said the total number of those still hospitalized due to this round of clashes is 59.
Road-blocking walls were built by authorities in the same area of downtown Cairo after clashes in November that left 45 people dead.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm