AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Published — Tuesday 15 January 2013
Last update 16 January 2013 12:05 am
CAIRO: Egyptian police fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the main railway station in second city Alexandria yesterday, hours after 19 people were killed when a train carrying conscripts derailed.
A police official said hundreds of protesters clashed with passengers in the station when they tried to block trains from leaving, and police fired tear gas to disperse them.
The train accident southwest of Cairo is likely to increase pressure on President Muhammad Mursi and his government ahead of Parliamentary elections in March or April, as opponents criticized his government over rail safety.
The accident, and another in November that killed 50 school children, "affirmed the urgent need for President Mursi and his governmet to reorder their priorities," said the opposition National Salvation Front in a statement.
The train was taking young recruits from south Egypt to a military camp in Cairo when two carriages went off the rails shortly after midnight in the Giza neighbourhood of Badrasheen, officials said.
Prime Minister Hesham Qandeel was met with howls of outrage when he arrived at the scene, with residents shouting: "You have blood on your hands, Mr Hesham." His security detail quickly whisked him away, an AFP photographer said.
Mursi flew in by helicopter to visit the wounded in a Cairo military hospital, the same facility where his ousted predecessor Hosni Mubarak is being treated, state media reported.
The accident is the latest in a string of transport disasters plaguing Egypt, and comes just two weeks after a new transport minister was appointed.
According to media reports, it is the fifth deadly train accident since Mursi was sworn in as Egypt's first post-revolution president in June.
In November, nearly 50 school children were killed when a train smashed into their bus in central Egypt after a railway signal operator fell asleep, prompting protests and resignations.
FROM: AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE