[Protesters carry an injured man during clashes in Cairo, on the day of the 40th anniversary of October 6 war. (Xinhua/Amru Salahuddien)]
CAIRO, (Xinhua): At least 51 people were killed and about 270 injured in Egypt’s clashes between security forces and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) on Sunday, official news agency MENA reported, citing the health ministry.
Clashes erupted between the security forces and the MB supporters during the nation’s celebrations of the 40th anniversary of October 6 war against Israel.
“One was killed in Menya governorate and another three were killed in Beni Sweif governorate, while most of the deaths were in Cairo and Giza,” Khaled al-Kahteeb, chief of the central administration for emergency, told MENA.
The security forces fired tear gas to disperse MB supporters who tried to storm the Tahrir Square in an attempt to clash with thousands of pro-military people who gathered in the square to celebrate the anniversary, MENA reported.
Tahrir Square, the epic center of the 2011 unrest that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, was sealed off with tanks and barbed wire to prevent Morsi’s supporters from entering it.
All the entrances to the square are blocked except for Abdel Moniem Reyadh which is open to the people coming for celebrations, under the security’s tight control. People have to wait in long lines for security check to enter the square.
Inside the square, people waved national flags, with military planes hovering above. State-run media and some private networks aired national songs around the clock along with documentaries of the war that glorify the military.
They chanted for the army, holding pictures of Defense Minister Abdel Fattah Sisi who led the overthrow of Morsi in July, and late president Anwar Sadat who headed the Egyptian army in October 6 war.
The defense minister, interim President Adli Mansour and Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur watched a fireworks display on a military stadium.
Clashes also erupted on Ramses street in Cairo, with security forces and residents of the area on one side and the Muslim Brotherhood supporters on the other. Hundreds of pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters tried to reach Tahrir Square through Ramses street. The clashes stopped traffic and caused panic in the area.
The interior ministry warned on Saturday of “attempts that may disturb the October 6 celebrations in Egypt.”
Sunday’s death toll was the highest in clashes between Islamists and police since the crackdown on Morsi’s supporters on Aug. 14, when more than 850 people were killed, most of them Islamists.
Security forces arrested about 17 MB supporters who carried explosives trying to block the metro line, state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website.
The interior ministry said in a statement that police arrested 423 protesters in Cairo and Giza, accusing them of “firing live rounds and birdshot.”
The Muslim Brotherhood said on its website that nearly 3,500 people have been jailed.
The top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were referred to courts over charges of inciting murder and violence. Morsi himself has been detained incommunicado, and the organization’s activities were banned by an Egyptian court last month. The court also ordered to seize the group’s assets.
Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Cooperation Ziad Bahaa-Eddin said on Sunday that the government has no intention for any “deal” with the Muslim Brotherhood, unless they stop violence, accept the roadmap which was announced by the army on July 3 after ousting Morsi.
Meanwhile, the National Alliance for Supporting Legitimacy whose members mainly come from the Muslim Brotherhood called on university students to join in protests on Tuesday.
In a statement published on its official website, the alliance also asked its supporters to rally on Friday in Tahrir Square.