At least 50 people were killed and more than 246 wounded on Sunday as Egyptian security forces clashed with supporters of ousted former President Mohammad Mursi, security and television sources said.
Supporters of Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood were protesting in several cities to show their displeasure of the military’s overthrow of the former president, while thousands celebrated the country’s military victory on the anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
Most of those killed had been shot, security sources said, according to Reuters.
One eyewitness claimed that military vehicles were firing live rounds at Muslim Brotherhood supporters near Cairo’s Tahrir Square, according to Reuters.
In central Cairo, policemen fired shots and tear gas to disperse stone-throwing protesters.
Around 335 protesters have been arrested, a source from the ministry of interior told the Egyptian daily Youm 7.
The recent clashes are certain to set back efforts by Egyptian’s fragile transitional government to revive the country’s stagnant economy, particularly the vital tourism sector, and bring order to the streets of Cairo, where crime and chaos have been rife.
The scene of the fighting contrasted with a festive mood in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, where thousands waved Egyptian flags, blew whistles and touted posters of army chief General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to the tune of a military band playing.
Taking part in the festivities, el-Sisi and interim President Adly Mansour attended a fireworks extravaganza late on Sunday at a military-owned stadium in eastern Cairo.
The Anti-Coup Alliance, the Pro-Mursi Islamist group led by the Brotherhood has repeatedly called for protests against the military's overthrow of Mursi, but its ability to mobilize large crowds has declined as security forces have detained more than 2,000 Islamists including several top Brotherhood leaders.
Interim President Adly Mansour has also called on Egyptians to take to the streets to commemorate the day. In a televised speech on Saturday he said that authorities will “defeat much-hated terrorism and blind violence with the rule of law that will protect the freedom of citizens and resources.”
(With AFP and Reuters)