World Bulletin/News Desk
At least six people were killed in clashes between Egyptian security forces and anti-coup demonstrators in two different parts of the country on Friday, a major anti-coup alliance said.
According to sources with the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, a loose coalition of Islamist parties that demand the reinstatement of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, five people were killed in Greater Cairo and another in the central Fayoum province.
Egypt's Health Ministry, however, confirmed only three deaths countrywide, along with ten injuries elsewhere in the country.
According to the anti-coup alliance, two people were killed in confrontations with police in western Cairo's 6 October City, and another three in the Al-Alf Maskan district of eastern Cairo. Another protester was killed in Fayoum, the alliance said.
The ministry, for its part, said in a statement that two people had been killed in Cairo and a third in Fayoum, while its hospitals had received ten injured people in four different provinces.
Anti-coup protesters staged fresh rallies on Friday, two days after a national referendum on a revised version of Egypt's 2012 constitution. The 2012 charter was suspended by the military following Morsi's ouster last July.
The vote is the first step of a transitional roadmap imposed by the army following Morsi's overthrow. The plan also calls for fresh parliamentary and presidential elections sometime this year.
Clashes between protesters and security forces were reported in several areas of capital Cairo on Friday, as well as in several provinces.
Sources with the anti-coup alliance said a number of protesters had been killed by live ammunition used by security forces.
Scores of protesters were also injured when unidentified individuals attacked a anti-coup protest in Giza's Al-Omraniya district, eyewitnesses said.
Six protesters were arrested in the Giza neighborhood of Imbaba, meanwhile, amid sporadic clashes, eyewitnesses said. Seventeen more were detained in Fayoum, according to a security source.
An unspecified number of demonstrators were also injured in a similar melee in Alexandria.
Nasser al-Abd, head of investigations in Alexandria, said that 15 protesters had been arrested in the coastal city.
A dozen protesters were also picked up by security forces in the Nile Delta province of Qalioubiya.
In central Sinai, gunmen caused an explosion of a natural gas pipeline supplying an industrial zone. Nobody was hurt but the blast disrupted gas supplies to some factories in the area, security sources said.
Interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi condemned the attack on the pipeline and vowed to punish such crimes with force.
123 MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD SUPPORTERS ARRESTED
Security forces arrested 123 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group which propelled ousted president Mohamed Morsi to power two years ago, during Friday protests nationwide, Egypt's Interior Ministry said.
The arrests were made in the provinces of Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Fayoum, Minya, Suez, and Ismailia, the statement said.
Arrested protesters were accused of blocking roads, assaulting citizens, firing guns loaded with birdshot and live ammunition, and throwing Molotov cocktails.
The ministry statement also claimed that some detainees had been arrested in possession of homemade petrol bombs and flyers promoting the "terrorist organization" – a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood – and inciting violence against the state.
In December, the government officially labeled the 86-year-old Islamist group a "terrorist" group following a deadly bombing that targeted a security building in the Nile Delta.
The Brotherhood has denied any involvement in the attack, which it described as an "act of terror."
Egyptian security forces have arrested thousands and killed hundreds of Brotherhood supporters since the overthrow of Mursi, Egypt's first democratically elected leader, and last month they declared the group a "terrorist organisation".
The Brotherhood, which says it is committed to peaceful activism, had unsuccessfully urged a boycott of the referendum on a new constitution.
State media, citing initial estimates, said around 95 percent of voters supported the new constitution, which would replace one approved under Mursi and would strengthen the state bodies that defied him: the army, the police and the judiciary.
In another sign of pressure on the Brotherhood, members of the engineers' union forced their head, identified as a Brotherhood supporter by state news portal Al-Ahram, to resign.
Unions have traditionally been seen as a gauge of Brotherhood support, in large part because the group was banned from politics during the Mubarak era. It lost its grip on another powerful professional union, representing doctors, in a vote last month.Last Mod: 18 Ocak 2014, 09:52