World Bulletin / News Desk
Protesters threw petrol bombs at the Egyptian presidential palace on Friday during a demonsration against President Mohamed Mursi, a Reuters witness said.
Water cannon was fired at the several dozen protesters who were assembled outside the palace walls. At least 15 petrol bombs were thrown over the wall of the palace grounds.
Police responded by firing water cannon and teargas leading to skirmishes in the surrounding streets.
Two witnesses said they had seen a protester shot dead in Cairo with live ammunition in front of them.
"It's verified. I am at the morgue. He was shot with two bullets, and that's the report of the hospital. The shots were in the neck and the right side of the chest," said one of the witnesses, lawyer Ragia Omran. Medical and security sources confirmed Mohamed Hussein Qurany, 23, was killed with live bullets.
The head of Egypt's ambulance service said at least 54 people had been wounded across the country, mostly in Cairo.
Protests marking the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak have killed nearly 60 people since Jan. 25, prompting the head of the army to warn this week that the state was on the verge of collapse.
The head of the Republican Guard, which protects the palace, condemned what he described as attempts to climb the compound walls and storm a gate. In a statement to the state news agency, he urged protesters to keep their demonstration peaceful.
With multi-coloured fireworks bouncing off their shields and bursting among them, helmeted and baton-wielding riot police chased protesters at the palace and set their tents ablaze. Petrol bombs briefly set fire to a building inside the compound.
There were also scuffles earlier near Cairo's central Tahrir Square, where police fired teargas at stone-throwing youths. In Alexandria, protesters blocked roads, staged a sit-in on the railway and tried to break into the TV and radio building.
Earlier, men dressed in mourning black marched through the Suez Canal city of Port Said, scene of the worst bloodshed of the past eight days, chanting and shaking their fists.
For the Port Said marchers, Friday was also the first anniversary of a soccer stadium riot that killed 70 people last year. Death sentences handed down on Saturday against 21 Port Said men over the riots helped fuel the past week's violence there, which saw dozens shot dead in clashes with police.
"Those aiming for instability blamed"
Friday's marches took place despite an intervention by Ahmed al-Tayyeb, head of the 1,000-year-old al-Azhar university and mosque, who hauled in politicians for crisis talks on Thursday where they signed a charter disavowing violence. Mursi's foes said the pact did not require them to call off demonstrations.
"We brought down the Mubarak regime with a peaceful revolution and are determined to realise the same goals in the same way, regardless of the sacrifices or the barbaric oppression," tweeted Mohamed ElBaradei, a former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog who has become a secularist leader.
The main opposition National Salvation Front denied it was to blame for the demonstrations turning violent. Mursi's office said it would "hold the political forces that may have participated in incitement fully politically responsible, pending results of investigation".
Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, on his Facebook page, blamed the unrest on "regional and international forces which aim for instability and to stir up problems and ignite strife to damage Egypt ... to thwart the democratic transition".
Many Egyptians are fed up.
"We are exhausted. This protests thing is a political game whose price the people are paying. I hate them all - liberals and Brotherhood," said Abdel Halim Adel, 60, near the presidential palace.Last Mod: 02 Şubat 2013, 11:45