Egypt: 15 killed in clashes between Mursi supporters, police

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Egypt: 15 killed in clashes between Mursi supporters, police

Most of the deaths took place in Cairo’s eastern Matariyah district, where police used teargas and birdshots to disperse supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood group.

By (AP)

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Published: Tue 27 Jan 2015, 1:38 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:07 PM

Anti-government protesters fought street battles with police in Cairo and other cities on Sunday, the fourth anniversary of the country’s 2011 uprising, as clashes left at least 15 people dead and dozens injured. Another two people died when an explosive device they were planting under a high-voltage tower in the Nile Delta exploded prematurely, according to security officials.

Most of the deaths took place in Cairo’s eastern Matariyah district, where police used teargas and birdshots to disperse supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group armed with firebombs and rocks. At least nine protesters and one police conscript were killed in the clashes there, the officials said.

Two other protesters and two policemen were killed elsewhere in Cairo on Sunday, and one in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The violence underscored the continued turmoil roiling the Arab world’s most populous nation four years after the 18-day uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Although small and scattered, Sunday’s violence is likely to impact on Egypt’s image as it prepares to host an international donors’ conference in March and in which President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s government has high hopes for the ailing economy.

The Health Ministry said 37 people were injured in Sunday’s clashes and the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of police, said that a total of 134 protesters were arrested nationwide.

By early evening, debris covered the site of the Matariyah clashes and a cloud of teargas hung over the area. Several cars were damaged, including one that was on fire. Another video shot there earlier on the day showed pedestrians and communal taxis caught in the crossfire between the two sides as gunshots rang out. The videos are consistent with Associated Press reporting on the clashes.

In Downtown Cairo, Al Sisi supporters clashed with mostly young critics of the general-turned-politician in pitched street battles. Police later used teargas and birdshots to disperse the president’s critics, who fled to side streets with riot policemen chasing after them.

The protests and stepped-up security in Cairo and elsewhere came as activists mourned the death of a female protester shot Saturday in downtown Cairo while taking part in a gathering commemorating protesters killed in the 2011 revolt.

Activists blame police for the death of Shaimaa Al Sabagh, a 32-year-old mother of one from Alexandria. The government says it is investigating the incident.

Videos posted online show Al Sabagh, a member of the leftist Popular Alliance party, with other protesters carrying placards and chanting “bread, freedom and social justice” — the chief slogan of the 2011 uprising. She and others carried wreaths of flowers they intended to place at nearby Tahrir Square in memory of the fallen protesters.

In the videos, two masked, black-clad police officers point their rifles in her direction before gunshots ring out. The next frame has her on the ground. She is later shown carried by a male protester as blood seeped out of her mouth.

Chanting “down, down with military rule!” hundreds attended her funeral in Alexandria on Sunday without incident. A white banner bearing her image was hoisted by the mourners.

There was no immediate confirmation from authorities of the group’s claim, but a lawyer who witnessed the shooting as she sat with her family just metres away at a restaurant posted on Facebook on Sunday her voluntary testimony to investigators. She said that she too was accused of participating in an illegal protest before she was released.

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