Egyptian journalist killed in clashes between police forces and protesters

29th Mar 2014


[A pro-Mursi protest in the Cairo district of Shubra]


Egyptian woman journalist was shot dead Friday in Cairo as police clashed with Islamists protesting against ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s presidency bid, a security official said.

He said the journalist was killed as supporters of deposed president Mohammed Mursi took to the streets across Egypt to vent their anger at Sisi, who overthrew the Islamist leader nine months ago.

Al-Dustour, a privately-owned newspaper, said on its website that its journalist Mayada Ashraf was killed while covering clashes in the northern Cairo neighborhood of Ein Shams.

Demonstrators in the southern Cairo working class district of Helwan and in Fayum, southwest of the capital, fired birdshot and police responded with tear gas, state news agency MENA said.

The protesters also cut off roads in Helwan, in the western Cairo neighborhood of Giza and in Madinat Nasr further east, the agency said.

Police likewise fired tear gas at demonstrators in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, Egypt’s second city, MENA said.

In Fayum, clashes erupted between supporters and opponents of Mursi, with security forces intervening to stop the fighting, MENA said, without giving details.

It said dozens of Mursi supporters linked arms and formed a human chain spanning several kilometers in the northern province of Beheira.

Opponents of Sisi also torched a huge portrait of the former army chief in the Suez canal city of Port Said, MENA said.

Supporter of the presidential hopeful, who toppled Mursi after massive streets protests against his turbulent one-year rule, were also out on the street to celebrate his candidacy.

Dozens took to the streets in Alexandria while scores gathered in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square, symbol of the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran president Hosni Mubarak.

Sisi faces no serious competition in his bid for the presidency.

His candidacy is likely to further inflame Islamist protests and worry secular activists who fear a return to rule by the military and the strong-arm tactics of the Mubarak era.

Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood rejected Sisi’s candidacy outright and a coalition of his supporters had called for Friday’s protests.

“What we said nine months ago was confirmed and the mask fell off from the face of the coup leader… with the announcement of his candidacy to ‘the bloody presidency,'” a statement said Thursday.

Sisi “broke the oath he made before the elected president Mohammed Mursi by toppling him and made the Egyptian army enter the political arena with him,” the coalition added.

Since Mursi’s ouster, his supporters have been staging weekly protests calling for his reinstatement.

Their rallies have often descended into deadly street clashes with security forces and civilian opponents. Their numbers have sharply decreased amid a violent security crackdown.

More than 1,400 people, mostly Mursi supporters, have been killed in the crackdown according to Amnesty International, and thousands have been jailed.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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