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Arab World

Protesters clash with police on revolution anniversary

Skirmishes have spread across Egypt's major cities on the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Clashes between Morsi opponents and police have resulted in injuries and fatalities.

Thousands of people took to the streets of the capital and other Egyptian cities on Friday to mark the day two years ago when protesters began demonstrations in Tahrir Square that eventually convinced President Mubarak to step down.

Some protesters clashed with police on Friday, particularly on side streets leading towards the square. Police fired tear gas after some protesters had pelted them with rocks or petrol bombs. They also fired tear gas on Morsi opponents descending upon the presidential palace.

Elsewhere in the capital city, there were reports of protesters blocking roads and metro stops.

By late Friday, medical sources raised the number of injuries to an estimated 400 across cities where clashes had occurred.

The unrest resulted in the death of at least five protesters in the city of Suez. In Alexandria, police were reported to have clashed with protesters who attempted to attack a local government building.

In the coastal city of Islamilia, Morsi opponents attacked the local Muslim Brotherhood office.

The violence first broke out late on Thursday when a group of protesters approached a cement wall erected to protect nearby government buildings in Cairo.

Opposition leaders had called on supporters to take to the streets to express displeasure with the government of President Muhammad Morsi, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood who is backed by the Islamist movement.

Egyptians protest on anniversary

"Go out into the squares to finally achieve the objectives of the revolution," one opposition leader, the former International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, said via the microblogging website Twitter.

The Muslim Brotherhood has kept a low profile on the anniversary, calling no rallies of its own but instead announcing a charitable and social initiative it has dubbed "Together we will build Egypt."

President Morsi used a speech to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad on Thursday to call on Egyptians to mark the event "in a civilized, peaceful way that safeguards our nation, our institutions, our lives."

Tensions between the president and the opposition have been heightened since Morsi used a presidential decree to seize sweeping powers he said he needed to expedite the holding of a referendum on Egypt's new constitution. Following the referendum, in which voters approved the constitution, Morsi relinquished the extra powers.

The opposition, however, reject the constitution in its current form, arguing that it does not provide sufficient protection for human rights.

kms, pfd/dr (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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