CAIRO: Security forces filled the streets surrounding the Algerian embassy in Cairo Friday, clashing with protestors attempting to approach it.
The streets bore the marks of confrontations that took place the night before when hundreds of football fans descended on Zamalek and attempted to approach the embassy.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement issued early Friday that fans on Thursday night threw stones and bottles at the police, resulting in the injury of 11 police officers and 24 protestors. An eyewitness told Daily News Egypt that members of security beat some protestors.
The ministry statement had also described the protestors as civilized and that the police forces were keen to give people the opportunity to vent their frustration, but from a distance, because Egypt was under obligation to protect diplomatic missions on its soil.
The Egyptian media had carried reports that Egyptians were attacked by knife-wielding Algerian fans after Egypt’s 1-0 defeat in Sudan on Wednesday evening.
Alaa Mubarak, son of the Egyptian president, alleged during a telephone interview on Thursday night that Algerians had attended the match expressly for the purpose of “terrorizing Egyptian fans.
The reports have inflamed already tense relations between the two countries. Chanting protestors in Zamalek on Friday called for the Algerian ambassador to be expelled.
Stones and broken glass littered the streets of Zamalek early morning Friday. A number of shops and cars had been damaged during the previous evening’s protests and security forces were on high alert, as rumors circulated that protests would resume after the Friday prayers.
Groups of young men did arrive at around 1 pm carrying Egyptian flags, chanting anti-Algerian slogans and calling for action to be taken to avenge “Egyptian blood .
They were allowed to gather in small groups before being dispersed by riot police and plain-clothed policemen and chased into side streets. Numerous arrests were made and some shopkeepers were forced by security officers to close their stores.
Some protestors criticized the police for attempting to stop the demonstrations, with one demonstrator telling police officers “you should be with us not against us .
One officer confiscated Egyptian flags from fans and several journalists were forced to delete camera photographs by security officers.
Standoffs between protestors and the police continued at regular intervals, and at times crowds of fans swelled to numbers large enough to block traffic. One group of fans started throwing stones at riot police but were persuaded to stop by a police officer.