CAIRO: Five people were killed in clashes on Friday as supporters of deposed President Mohamed Mursi took to the streets of Cairo and other cities to demand the end of army-backed rule.
The marches were the most ambitious attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to press its demands since August 14, when authorities smashed two pro-Mursi sit-ins in Cairo and then declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew.
An Egyptian army vehicle fired live rounds in the direction of Brotherhood supporters who had been pushed away from Cairo’s Tahrir Square by security forces, a Reuters witness said.
Four people were shot dead in clashes in the southern city of Assuit, medical and health sources said. It was not clear which side they were on.
Medical sources in Cairo said a Brotherhood supporter had died from a gunshot wound in clashes in the capital.
Onlookers threw rocks at the pro-Mursi protesters, who hurled them back. Riot police earlier fired tear gas to push back the march.
Thousands of protesters headed toward the site of a former Brotherhood protest camp in northeast Cairo which was crushed by security forces in August. By late afternoon, protesters had retreated from the area.
Members of the Brotherhood, which has been banned by court order, tried to reach the presidential palace but were turned back by police.
The state news agency said protesters failed to reach the defense ministry and a Republican Guard facility.
Fighting also erupted in Egypt’s second city Alexandria and two Nile Delta cities.
The Brotherhood won every election after a popular uprising ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011, but became deeply unpopular under Mursi’s rule.
Mursi was accused of trying to give himself sweeping powers and entrenching the Brotherhood – allegations he denies.
Egypt has been gripped by political and economic turmoil since army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew Mursi, the country’s first freely elected president, on July 3 after mass protests against his rule.