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article imageClashes in Egypt between police and protesters kill at least 11

By Ken Hanly     Jan 3, 2014 in Politics
Cairo - The Egyptian Health Ministry reports 11 deaths during clashes between police and Muslim Brotherhood supporters during demonstrations across Egypt.
Bethany Bell of the BBC reports that over 100 arrests were made on Friday. The Muslim Brotherhood put the toll at 17 dead and dozens wounded. The deaths were in Cairo, Alexandria, Fayoum, and Ismailia. A report in the WSJ reports that the Freedom and Justice Party associated with the Muslim Brotherhood put the toll at 19.
After declaring the Brotherhood a terrorist group the government has engaged in an even fiercer crackdown than before. Some demonstrators fought with police using stones and fireworks in several parts of Cairo the capital. One police car was set on fire by a gasoline bomb.
In Alexandria people were reported wounded by bird shot. Two people were killed in a demonstration in Alexandria the previous day. Even though ex-president Morsi was elected and served until he was overthrown on July 3rd last year in a coup led by General Sisi after large demonstrations, the Muslim Brotherhood of which he was a member, was banned from all activity in September. Recently, the group was blamed for a suicide bombing of a police headquarters even though a militant group from Sinai claimed responsibility.
Egyptian authorities have arrested seven people allegedly involved in the suicide bombing that left 16 dead. Yahia Mongi, son of a Brotherhood politician, confessed in a recording released at a news conference saying that he had joined the Sinai Ansar Beit al-Magdis which claimed responsibility. This is no doubt part of a propaganda push to blame the Brotherhood for the attack and justify the "terrorist" designation. Human right supporters claim that Egyptian police frequently use torture to produce confessions which they subsequently use for evidence to convict defendants.
Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and members have been arrested and many are on trial including former president Morsi on several charges including incitement to murder. The violence takes place as authorities are preparing for a vote on a new constitution later this month. The constitution if passed will consolidate and legitimatize the power of the military in Egypt.
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