Violence returns to Cairo as 7 killed in overnight clashes

IntPolice fired tear gas in central Cairo to disperse Morsi supporters late Monday. REUTERS

Clashes overnight between police and supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi left at least seven people dead, authorities said Tuesday, in the latest eruption of political violence on the country's streets since the military deposed the Islamist leader nearly two weeks ago. The bloodshed, which comes a week after army troops and police killed more than 50 Morsi supporters, made clear the determination of the pro-Morsi camp to resist the new political order and to maintain pressure on the military and the interim administration to offer concessions.

Khaled el-Khateeb, the head of the Health Ministry's emergency and intensive care department, said another 261 people were injured in the clashes that broke out late Monday and carried on into the early morning hours of Tuesday in four different locations in Cairo.

Egypt's state news agency said 17 policemen were injured in the violence, and 401 people have been arrested in relation to the clashes.

There was no official word on how the seven people died, but security officials said four of them were killed in clashes between Morsi supporters staging a sit-in near the main Cairo University campus and residents of the area. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

The violence erupted after sunset during mass protests by Morsi's supporters demanding the ousted leader be reinstated. The protest turned violent as police fired volleys of tear gas at pro-Morsi protesters who burned tires, threw rocks and blocked traffic flow on a main roadway running through the heart of the capital.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which Morsi hails, said police used birdshot and live ammunition. The ousted president's supporters say he was removed by a military coup that overturned democratic rule. Thousands of them have been staging sit-ins in two different locations in Cairo, one outside the main campus of Cairo University and another outside a mosque in a neighborhood in eastern Cairo that is a Brotherhood stronghold.

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