* Anger stems from football riot case
* Police go on strike across Egypt
(Recasts with protester death)
By Yusri Mohamed
PORT SAID, March 7 One protester was shot dead
on Thursday on a fifth day of clashes between police and
demonstrators in the Egyptian city of Port Said, as the country
struggles with deepening security problems during its turbulent
transition to democracy.
The city at the northern end of the Suez Canal has been a
flashpoint since January, with violent protests over death
sentences given to local people in connection with a football
stadium riot in which more than 70 people died last year.
A court hearing on Saturday is expected to confirm the death
sentences handed down on 21 prisoners.
Youths wearing surgical masks, scarves and hoods threw
stones and made lewd gestures at a line of police officers who
released smoke bombs into streets strewn with rubbish,
television footage from pan-Arab channel al-Arabiya showed.
"Karim Atout, 33, died from a gunshot to the head after
doctors' efforts failed to revive him," Helmy Al-Affani, a local
official of the health ministry in Port Said, told Reuters on
Law and order has deteriorated in Egypt since the overthrow
of President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising two years ago,
with some of the worst unrest in Port Said, an industrial city
which residents complain has been neglected by central
governments in Cairo.
At least seven people have been killed in this week's
protests in Port Said - three security officials and four
The security services in the Mediterranean city told Reuters
they were increasing protection of the central prison and Suez
Canal Authority offices before the court ruling.
On Thursday, the clashes prevented some staff of a Suez
Canal container company from going to work.
Underlining the overwhelming task facing authorities trying
to restore order, police strikes spread across Egypt, with
officers demanding better protection.
Hundreds of police refused to work for a second day at a
base outside Ismailia, about 70 km (45 miles) south of Port
Said, demanding more arms after several of their colleagues were
killed in recent clashes.
Police also went on strike in Tanta, north of Cairo, while
security forces charged with guarding one of President Mohamed
Mursi's residences in the Nile Delta started a sit-in at a
sports stadium to demand legal protection from prosecution over
their actions to control civil unrest.
They said they did not want to get mixed up in the country's
political crisis, state news agency MENA reported.
Dozens of police protested peacefully in Egypt's second city
of Alexandria, saying they did not want their work to become
politicised and chanting "the police are not against the
people", MENA said.
(Additonal reporting by Omar Fahmy in Cairo, Writing by Sylvia
Westall and Yasmine Saleh; Editing by David Stamp and Sophie