Deadly clashes as Egypt marks uprising

2014-01-25 22:38
Egyptians wave a national flag as they greet an army helicopter. (Amr Nabil, AP)

Egyptians wave a national flag as they greet an army helicopter. (Amr Nabil, AP)

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Cairo - At least 29 people were killed in clashes in Egypt on Saturday during rival rallies on the anniversary of the 2011 revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak, underscoring the country's violent polarisation.

Three years after Egyptians rose up to demand the overthrow of Mubarak, thousands of demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square chanted slogans backing another military man, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as police clashed with Islamists and activists elsewhere.

The 29 people were killed in fighting across the country when police and supporters of the military-installed government clashed with Islamist backers of president Mohamed Morsi, who was deposed in July after a single turbulent year in power.

Egypt was already on edge after four bombs exploded in Cairo on Friday, including a massive blast outside police headquarters. The attacks, which were claimed by a Sinai-based extremist group, killed six people.

Bomb

Hours before Saturday's rallies, a small bomb outside a police training centre in north Cairo wounded one person, and another 16 were wounded when a car bomb exploded next to a police base in the canal city of Suez, according to the health ministry.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, an al-Qaeda-inspired group, claimed Friday's bombings, all of which targeted police, and urged Egyptian "Muslims" to stay away from police buildings.

Security forces deployed across Cairo moved quickly to disperse scattered pro-Morsi protests while welcoming demonstrators to commemorations called by authorities.

In Cairo's Muhandiseen district, police fired tear gas and birdshot at anti-government protesters shortly after they gathered outside a mosque, scattering them into side streets.

Of the 29 people killed, 26 died in Cairo and its suburbs, health ministry spokesperson Ahmed Kamel told AFP. Another 168 people were wounded in the clashes, and police said 725 suspected protesters were arrested.

One of the dead in Cairo was a member of the April 6 movement, which spearheaded the uprising against Mubarak and had also opposed Morsi, a member of the group told AFP.

Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa  |  egypt crisis
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