Security clash with protesters in Cairo's Alf Maskan on Friday

Ahram Online, Friday 4 Apr 2014

Police and army deployed at key locations around Cairo and Giza ahead of demonstrations by Islamist coalition

Egyptian army soldiers in armored vehicles in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt (Photo: AP)

Clashes between security forces and demonstrators broke out in several districts in Cairo and Giza on Friday afternoon.

A source at the interior ministry told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that a total of 61 suspected members of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested in Cairo, Alexandria, Giza, Beheira, Minya and Assiut.

According to Al-Ahram Arabic news website, the Cairo district of Alf Maskan witnessed intense street battles between protesters, who support ousted president Mohamed Morsi, and the police.

The clashes reportedly erupted after protesters threw stones and bottles at deployed security forces, who responded by firing teargas to disperse the demonstrators.

Several people were injured on both sides, according to Al-Ahram, but no official statement has been issued on the number of injuries.

The district in eastern Cairo has become a regular site of bloody clashes in recent months; last Friday a young reporter was shot dead while covering violence in the area.

Also on Friday afternoon, security forces fired teargas in the Imbaba district of Giza to disperse protesters after they chanted slogans against the army and police on Friday, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.

Protests also took place in Haram in Giza, where demonstrators managed to block traffic in front of Al-Haram Hospital before being dispersed by the police.

The Egyptian police and army had earlier reinforced their presence at a number of public places in the capital on Friday in anticipation of pro-Brotherhood protests, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.

Roads leading to Giza’s security directorate were closed off to prevent attacks by militants, and security forces also reinforced their presence near embassies and police stations in Cairo and Giza.

There were calls for protests this Friday by the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, an Islamist coalition that supports ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi and has called for his reinstatement.

The increase in the security comes after three bombs went off on Wednesday near Cairo University’s Giza campus. The attacks, which targeted a police post outside the university, killed one police officer and injured five others.

Security has been increased on key highways around Cairo and in Qalioubiya governorate, just north of the capital.

Friday protests have been common since Morsi’s ouster last July, although the Egyptian authorities in November issued a law criminalising unauthorised public demonstrations.

Morsi’s ouster also led to a spike in militant attacks, initially concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula, but in recent months becoming more common in the Nile Delta region and in Egypt’s capital.

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