Egypt to hold presidential vote first
The news comes after 49 people were killed during rival rallies on Saturday’s anniversary of the 2011 uprising
Egypt will hold presidential elections before parliamentary polls, interim President Adly Mansour said on Sunday, a change to the political timetable that could see army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi elected as head of state within months.
Parliamentary elections were supposed to happen first under the roadmap agreed after the army deposed Islamist President Mohammad Mursi in July following mass protests against his rule.
The health ministry announced on Sunday that 49 people were killed during rival rallies on Saturday’s anniversary of the 2011 uprising.
The interior ministry said 1,079 people had been arrested during the demonstrations that came three years after the start of the uprising that forced long-serving autocrat Hosni Mubarak to quit.
Several people were killed during clashes in and around Cairo as Islamists and anti-government protesters battled with police and civilian opponents.
In addition, 247 people were injured, the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
Tear gas was fired by police at Mursi supporters and other anti-government activists.
Security sources told Al Arabiya News Channel that at least 33 Muslim Brotherhood supporters had been arrested in Cairo for attacking police forces.
Police broke up protests shortly after they began around a Cairo mosque, according to an AFP correspondent.
The protesters included both Islamist supporters of Mursi and activists who accuse Egypt’s army of hijacking the government.
Security forces lobbed teargas and fired in the air to try to prevent demonstrators opposed to the government from reaching Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of the 2011 uprising that toppled the former air force commander.
Instead of commemorating Mubarak’s overthrow, a large number of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir to pledge their support for the army chief who ousted the country’s first freely-elected president last year.
The chanting for General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi underscored the prevailing desire for a decisive military man they count on to end the political turmoil that has gripped Egypt since the 2011 Arab Spring revolution and crippled the economy.
Earlier on Saturday, two bomb blasts were reported in Cairo on Saturday as Egyptians marked the third anniversary of their Jan. 25, 2011 uprising.
One bomb exploded near a police academy in Cairo, wounding one person, security sources said.
The blast was sparked by what was described as a small “incendiary bomb” lodged on the wall of the police training center and exploded without causing any casualties, a police official told Agence France-Presse. It was thrown by an assailant, who later escaped, the official added.
The second blast was reported in Hadaeq al-Quba, a Cairo district. Details of this attack remained unclear.
Later in the afternoon, a car bomb struck a police base in the Egyptian canal city of Suez on Saturday, wounding at least four people in an attack earlier blamed on a rocket.
The booby-trapped car exploded on a street next to the base, General Abdel Fattah Othman told the private ONTV television. A police spokesman had earlier said a rocket caused the explosion.
The attacks came a day after a series of bombings in Cairo and clashes across the country left at least six people dead and wounded several others. In the most high-profile attack on Friday, a car bomb exploded at a security compound in central Cairo early in the morning and killed at least four people, including three policemen, security sources said.
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