Arab Spring anniversary protests turn deadly | News | DW | 25.01.2014
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Arab Spring anniversary protests turn deadly

Further fatalities have been reported in Egypt as police dispersed anti-government demonstrators. Meanwhile, an Qaeda-inspired group based in the Sinai Peninsula has claimed a series of coordinated deadly bombings.

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Deadly bombings target police in Cairo

The Egyptian Health Ministry said at least four people were killed in clashes as police dispersed anti-government protesters.

Police were said to have fired live rounds into the air on Saturday, as well as tear gas, to disperse crowds.

Marches were planned by both supporters and opponents of the military-installed government to mark January 25, the anniversary of the beginning of the uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.

Islamists loyal to elected and subsequently deposed President Mohammed Morsi staged their demonstrations in protest at commemorations called by the government.

Egyptian state television reported late on Saturday afternoon that an explosion had been heard close to a police station in the city of Suez. Gunfire was also reported.

In a statement posted on a website used by Islamic militants, Ansar Beit al Maqdis - meaning Partisans of Jerusalem - said on Saturday that it had detonated the bombs that killed at least six people a day earlier.

A string of bombings on Friday targeted police installations in Cairo, killing at least six people. There was at least one bombing on Saturday morning, close to a police academy, although no-one was injured.

The group, which has previously taken responsibility for some of the deadliest bombings in the country, said the devices had been detonated remotely. It urged Muslims to avoid police stations in the near future.

"In this context, we repeat our call to our people in Egypt to avoid security and police installations, because we are trying very hard to avoid harming Muslims," the statement said, referring to such places as "enemy headquarters."

Simmering resentments

Following the ouster of Mubarak, Morsi came to power as the country's first freely elected head of state, but was deposed by the military in July last year. Millions of Egyptians had taken to the streets to demand his resignation amid accusations that he had mismanaged the economy and attempted to centralize power for the presidency.

Since Morsi was ousted, the military has waged a crackdown on his supporters with at least 1,000 people killed and thousands of Islamists arrested.

Militants in Sinai have stepped up attacks on Egypt's military since Morsi was deposed. The army-backed government accuses Morsi and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood of being behind the incidents, a claim that is denied by the Brotherhood.

The government says it aims to restore civilian rule, which was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum last week.

rc/tj (AP, AFP, dpa)

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