Clashes leave 15 dead four years on from Arab Spring

Supporters of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president fought street battles with police in Cairo and other cities yesterday, on the fourth anniversary of the country’s 2011 uprising, as clashes left at least 15 people dead and dozens injured.

Clashes leave 15 dead four years on from Arab Spring

Another two people died when an explosive device they were planting under a high-voltage tower in the Nile Delta exploded prematurely.

Most of the deaths took place in Cairo’s eastern Matariyah district — an Islamist stronghold where police clashed with supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group. Nine protesters and one police officer were killed in the clashes.

The violence underscored the continued turmoil in the Arab world’s most populous nation four years after the 18-day uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Two other protesters were killed elsewhere in Cairo, and one in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.

Two police officers were injured by shrapnel when a roadside bomb exploded in an eastern Cairo district and six more were wounded in the Matariyah clashes.

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The interior ministry, which is in charge of the police, said a total of 134 protesters were arrested nationwide yesterday.

Cairo, a city of some 18m people, appeared mostly deserted, with many residents staying home to avoid being caught up in any turmoil.

In Downtown Cairo, supporters of Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi clashed with critics of the general-turned-politician in pitched street battles.

Police later used tear gas and birdshots to disperse the president’s critics, who fled to side streets.

The protests and the stepped-up security came as activists mourned the death of a female protester shot on Saturday in downtown Cairo while taking part in a gathering commemorating the nearly 900 protesters killed in the 2011 revolt.

Activists and her party blame police for the death of Shaimaa el-Sabagh, a 32-year-old mother of one from Alexandria. The government says it is investigating.

Videos posted online showed el-Sabagh, a member of the leftist Popular Alliance party, with other protesters carrying placards and chanting “bread, freedom, and social justice” — the chief slogan of the 2011 uprising.

El-Sabagh’s death is the second of a female protester in recent days.

Islamist Sondos Reda was shot dead during a Friday protest in Alexandria. Activists also blame the police.

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