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3 Feb, 2012 10:03

Caught in mayhem: RT crew tear-gassed in Egypt (VIDEO)

A crew from RT’s Arabic channel has suffered a tear gas attack in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, during a rally linked to Wednesday’s deadly football riot in Port Said.

The crew was filming the protests as they heated up and turned into an open conflict with Egyptian police. RT journalists were in the thick of the crowd when officers starting throwing tear gas grenades. Overcoming suffocation, RT’s cameraman managed to film the attack. His assistant, however, was lost in the turmoil. Luckily, he finally made it back to the hotel.The clashes broke out over Wednesday’s football riot and stampede in Port Said in which 79 died. Two further deaths occurred on Thursday after police opened fire on an angry crowd which tried to storm a police station. Protesters blame the country's security forces for failing to prevent the tragedy.

The head of the military council says the clashes were an orchestrated bid to destabilize the country. At the same time the Muslim Brotherhood, which came out on top in recent elections, blamed supporters of the ousted regime. “At this stage it’s very difficult to say who is actually behind the violence or whether it was spontaneous or orchestrated,” Khaled Diab, a journalist and writer from Egypt, told RT. “But what is certain is that there is a security vacuum in Egypt. There were huge gaps in the security at the stadium. So if there was no intentional hand behind it, these lapses enable the violence to take place.”