Amid security vacuum, attacks on police stations repeated

In the past two days four attacks on police stations have taken place amid nationwide unrest in the wake of a football riot that killed 74 people in Port Said.

On Saturday Matariya Police Station officers and local residents repelled an attempt to break into the station, according to MENA.

The state news agency said that some 60 people of the Sharikat neighborhood in Matariya, northern Cairo, attempted to storm the station and police fired tear gas to disperse them. No injuries were reported.

Two hundred residents then surrounded the station to help secure it, while the police arrested three suspects reportedly carrying arms, according to MENA.

In various cities on Friday thousands of protestors clashed with police officers who fired tear gas and shotgun pellets. Twelve protestors were killed and around 2,000 injured, according to the Health Ministry. The protesters held the security forces responsible for the football disaster, which happened on Wednesday. 

While this was happening, gunmen with machine guns stormed a police station in the Cairo suburb of Marg, and freed prisoners before setting fire to the building, according to state TV. On Saturday, security forces arrested 19 of the 61 suspects who escaped.

A security source told state-run Al-Ahram newspaper that "dangerous felons" also tried to storm the police station in Salam neighborhood in the south of Cairo. They reportedly carried bladed weapons and tried to steal the police cars parked outside the station and auto parts before police arrested them.

In the city Tebein, in the far south of Cairo, unidentified gunmen fired at troops securing the police station. They exchanged fire with the security forces before fleeing. No one was injured.

A prison break attempt was also reported on Saturday — security services foiled a mass escape attempt at Mostaqbal Public Prison in Ismailia, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm. One prisoner was killed.

The series of attacks is reminiscent of the incidents of 28 January last year, when people attacked police stations in various governorates. There was also a mass prison break in Egypt one weekend that month, and nearly a quarter of Egypt's prisoners escaped.

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