AT LEAST 29 people were killed during anti-government protests yesterday as Egypt marked the anniversary of the 2011 uprising which led to the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak.
Police in Cairo fired tear gas and live rounds to disperse protesters, with 147 injured in street clashes. A bomb was also thrown at the wall of a police training academy in the suburb of Ain Shams, seriously injuring one person.
The majority died in the capital, with two dead in the southern city of Minya and a woman killed in Egypt’s second city of Alexandria.
Tensions are running high in Cairo after clashes across Egypt on Friday left 18 people dead and more than 150 injured. The military-backed government has said extra security had been put in place and interior minister Muhammad Ibrahim urged Egyptians not to be afraid to go to events that are marking the anniversary of the uprising.
Al-Qaeda-inspired militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has claimed it was behind a suicide car bombing of Cairo’s police headquarters on Friday, one of a series of blasts which killed at least five people, three at the HQ.
The Muslim Brotherhood has held regular protests since the military, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last July. Earlier, Ibrahim warned followers of the Brotherhood – to which the jailed Morsi belongs – that any attempt to disrupt festivities would be dealt with firmly.
Three years on from an uprising that raised hopes of political reform in the Arab world’s most populous country, the ongoing rival demonstrations highlight deep divisions in Egypt.
The Anti-Coup Alliance, led by the Brotherhood, had called for 18 days of protests, mirroring the 18 days of protests that led to Mubarak stepping down in 2011.
Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, was removed by the army amid street protests in July 2013. Sisi is now being tipped to run for the presidency. Hundreds have died since Morsi was deposed.