Middle East

Deadly protest over chemical plant in northern Egypt

BBC Map - Egypt, Damietta

Clashes in northern Egypt between army and protesters against pollution from a fertiliser plant have left one man dead and at least 11 people injured.

Demonstrators sealed off the port town of Damietta, in a series of protests that have lasted six days.

The protests were sparked by concern over pollution from the existing plant and plans to build two more locally.

Egypt's ruling military council has announced that the fertiliser plant is to be closed.

The BBC Cairo correspondent, Jon Leyne, says the protest is an example of the kind of activism that would probably not have been tolerated under Egypt's former ruler, Hosni Mubarak, but is now happening more and more frequently.

The fertiliser plant is jointly owned by state-owned Misr Oil Processing Company and Canada's Agrium.

Residents first took to the streets on Tuesday demanding the relocation of the plant. On subsequent days, the city's port on the Mediterranean coast and roads next to it were sealed off.

A witness told the Reuters news agency that protesters had taken over an ambulance carrying the corpse of a 21-year-old man killed in the clashes on Sunday, and driven it to the governor's office, chanting anti-government slogans. A medical source said the dead man had been shot.

The Egyptian news agency said the port had been reopened on Monday.