CAIRO - Police fired tear gas and birdshot at protesters on Saturday in a third day of deadly clashes in Cairo, as anger at Egypt's ruling military boiled over after 74 people died in football-related violence.

The police responded after dozens of protesters threw stones at officers guarding the interior ministry hundreds of metres (yards) from the capital's iconic Tahrir Square.

Some protesters later intervened and stood between their comrades and police, ending the violence.

In the canal city of Suez, two people died from birdshot wounds sustained in clashes overnight, medics said. The health ministry said 12 people have been killed in Cairo and Suez since the violence erupted.

Five people were also hurt in overnight clashes outside police headquarters in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, state media reported. Marchers had taken to the streets nationwide on Friday to demand that Egypt's ruling generals cede power immediately after a night of violence in several cities. The official MENA news agency on Saturday cited the health ministry as saying 2,532 people have been injured.

A reporter for the state-owned Nile News television station was wounded in the eye by birdshot, the channel reported.

The interior ministry said 211 policemen were wounded, including a general who lost an eye, and 16 conscripts were wounded by birdshot.

Protesters, many of them organised supporters of Cairo's main football clubs known as the Ultras, held up a huge banner to the police that read: "Those who didn't deserve to die have died at the hands of those who don't deserve to live."

Many of the dead in Wednesday's football riot in the northern city of Port Said were thought to have been Al-Ahly supporters, set upon by partisans of the local Al-Masry side after the Cairo team lost 3-1.

The Ultras played a prominent role among anti-regime elements in the uprising that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak a year ago, and commentators and citizens have suggested pro-Mubarak forces were behind the massacre, or at least complicit.