CAIRO, (Xinhua): Bloody clashes erupted in Egypt between the security and supporters of ousted former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday, the first anniversary of his removal.
Protesters on Thursday blocked traffic in main streets in the capital Cairo and nearby Giza province, shouting statements against the military and the police, while security forces replied with tear gas to disperse them, according to eyewitnesses who also confirmed hearing gunshots during the turmoil.
The number of victims in the confrontation is still controversial. State-run media like Ahram news website said one protester was killed, while the official website of currently- blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group, the main loyalist of the deposed president, said that two were killed during anti- government marches at the Pyramids City in Giza.
Ahram also said that pro-Morsi protesters stormed a police station at a neighborhood in Muqattam district and set fire to a traffic department in Helwan city in Cairo.
Some 196 of Morsi’s advocates were arrested before and during the marches in several provinces Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Fayoum, Menia, Assiut and the Red Sea, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Thursday’s marches were urged by a pro-Morsi alliance of Islamist movements and groups led by the Brotherhood. They staged the protests under the slogan of “the Day of Anger” or “the July 3 Uprising,” referring to Morsi’s removal by the military on the same day last year.
While the number of protests was seen as limited by some many experts, the Islamist alliance said in a statement on Thursday that “the activities were strong and effective and they reached several squares and influential spots.”
The Egyptian police were on alert and declared central squares nationwide in anticipation of the protests, including the iconic Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the January 2011 protests that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak, and Rabiaa al-Adawiya square that witnessed the largest sit-in of Morsi’s supporters before his removal.
On Thursday evening, a homemade bomb exploded in a train carriage at Sedi Gaber area in the coastal province of Alexandria with reports of a number of injuries, the Egyptian state TV said.
Earlier on Thursday, a suspected militant was killed when the homemade bomb he was preparing in Giza’s Kerdasa village went off. Another one was wounded in the blast. Another home-made bomb planted inside a car went off near a military hospital in Abbasiya area in northeastern Cairo, causing no casualties.
Meanwhile, at least 17 suspected extremist militants were killed on Thursday in security raids in Rafah city of Egypt’s North Sinai province, a security source told Xinhua.
Since Morsi’s removal, extremist groups have launched a series of bombings in Sinai, the capital Cairo and some other provinces nationwide, targeting security staff and buildings. Ansar Bayt al- Maqdis group, labelled as a terrorist organization by Egypt and the United States, has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.
The security crackdown on Morsi’s loyalists has left more than 1,000 killed and thousands others arrested over the past 10 months.
Ex-military chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who led Mubarak’s military intelligence and was later hired by Morsi as defense minister, has recently been elected as the country’s president.
Editor: Mu Xuequan