Middle East

Egypt: Six killed in clashes amid Brotherhood protest

An Egyptian mother carries her child as Muslims attend an Eid al-Fitr prayer, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Cairo, Egypt, on Friday Image copyright AP
Image caption The clashes happened after prayers marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan

At least six people have been killed in clashes between Islamist protesters and police in Egypt's capital Cairo.

The violence broke out during demonstrations in support of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and the banned Muslim Brotherhood after prayers at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The authorities blamed unknown assailants for firing on the march.

But the Muslim Brotherhood said the deaths occurred when the police broke up the protest.

Supporters of the Brotherhood have faced a crackdown since mid-2013, with thousands jailed and hundreds, including Morsi, sentenced to death.

Demonstrations have dwindled under a law that requires a police permit.

But there were street rallies on Friday following morning prayers for Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Egyptian authorities have cracked down on anti-government protests for the past two years

They followed a Brotherhood call for protests, saying "your Eid is your revolution", says the BBC's Claire Read in Cairo.

On Thursday night, Morsi released a message from his jail cell calling on his supporters to "save Egypt from the oppressive military officials".

Friday's clashes happened in Talbiya district, near the Giza pyramids, and Nahya, near Cairo.

Police also made 20 arrests in Egypt's second city, Alexandria, state news agency Mena reported.

The Muslim Brotherhood was banned for decades until the 2011 overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

Their candidate Morsi won elections in 2012, but he lasted only a year in power before he was toppled by the military following popular protests.

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