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Friday clashes leave 5 dead

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Morsi supporters protest Al-Sisi’s presidential bid

1-1Mourners pray over the body of Egyptian journalist Mayada Ashraf during her funeral in Estanhaa village at El-Monofia, 70 km north of Cairo, on Saturday (AFP PHOTO / AHMED MAHMOUD)

Mourners pray over the body of Egyptian journalist Mayada Ashraf during her funeral in Estanhaa village at El-Monofia, 70 km north of Cairo, on Saturday
(AFP PHOTO / AHMED MAHMOUD)

Five people were killed, including a journalist, as protests staged by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi quickly devolved into clashes with security forces on Friday in the Ain Shams neighbourhood in Cairo.

Morsi supporters took to the streets this Friday to protest former Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s intention to run for the coming presidential elections. Al-Sisi officially announced his resignation from the armed forces and his presidential bid on Wednesday, following months of speculation regarding his candidacy.

The Ministry of Interior accused Muslim Brotherhood supporters of blocking the road in Ain Shams, using firearms during clashes with other residents as well as torching a shop and a number of cars.

In a statement released on Friday, the ministry also held the Brotherhood supporters responsible for the death of five citizens, including two women, one of whom is 22 year-old journalist Mayada Ashraf of Al-Dostour news site. The other female victim, Coptic woman Mary George, was reportedly stabbed to death by protesters. The ministry added that 11 others were injured with firearms and birdshot in the neighbourhood of Ain Shams.

Twenty-two were injured nationwide as a result of the Friday clashes, according to the Ministry of Health. The ministry added that 18 injuries occurred in Cairo alone, reported state-run Al-Ahram.

The Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, claimed that it was the “militias of the terrorist coup” which fired live ammunition at Ashraf and killed her. The party added that although Ashraf died while covering the protests, the weapons used against her are the same ones used against “anti-coup” protesters.

Security forces arrested 10 protesters in Ain Shams. The Ministry of Interior added that in the governorates of Alexandria, Giza, Assiut, Gharbeya and Minya, it arrested 79 protesters allegedly in possession of “large quantities of Molotov cocktails and fireworks”.

Morsi supporters have been holding protests against the former president’s ouster on an almost weekly basis since the armed forces unseated him on 3 July 2013. Friday’s protests were the most violent in weeks, as protests have been gradually losing momentum amid a security crack-down on the Muslim Brotherhood group and its supporters.

On 25 December, former Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi’s cabinet listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.


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