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EU Calls for Restraint in Egypt Standoff

RIA Novosti

12:46 27/01/2013

BRUSSELS, January 27 (RIA Novosti) - European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has called on all the sides of escalating confrontation in Egypt to show restraint during the country's transition to democracy.

"It is with great concern that the High Representative heard about the violent clashes in Port Said leaving several people killed. She urges the Egyptian authorities to restore calm and order and calls on all sides to show restraint in the best interest of the country at this delicate time in its democratic transition," Ashton said in a statement.

Dozens have died and hundreds have been injured in clashes between police and soccer fans in Egyptian cities of Port Said, Ismailia and Suez. Two police officers and 28 civilians so far have been killed and some 300 injured in Port Said only, according to head of Port Said hospitals, Abdel-Rahman Farah, quoted by Ahram Online.

The violence erupted on Friday after a court handed down death sentences to all 21 defendants in a trial that is part of the high-profile case of the so-called "Port Said tragedy," Egypt's worst-ever football fans clash and stampede that left at least 72 people dead and another 254 injured last February.

According to Ahram Online, clashes between angry protesters, armed with rocks and firearms and security forces continued on Saturday evening in Port Said. Despite troops deployment, protestors do not give up attempts to storm the city prison and release the 21 fans sentenced to death. Crowds have also started gathering outside the city morgue and courts. A police station and a police dormitory were looted and set on fire.

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