Deadly clashes erupted in Cairo on Sunday as pro-Morsi marches protesting the military junta rule headed to Tahrir Square, where thousands were cheering the same junta, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the army’s 1973 “victory” against Israel.
Confrontations there and outside Cairo resulted so far in the death toll rising to 51, according to Al Ahram, with 268 injured.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry said security forces arrested 423 people during clashes in Cairo and Giza.
The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a coalition of Islamist forces supporting deposed president Mohamed Morsi, said at least 11 had been killed in clashes with security forces in Ramses Street in central Cairo.
Official news agency MENA also reported that gunshots were heard amidst the clashes on Ramses Street.
Backers of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood have staged thousand-strong marches in several parts of Cairo, Giza and other governorates, Al Ahram reported.
Rallies took a violent turn in central Cairo’s Garden City and Giza’s Dokki district, where police fired rounds of teargas after local residents clashed during pro-Morsi protests heading towards Tahrir, eyewitnesses and Ahram Online reporters said. The sound of heavy gunfire was later reported, as well as army jets and F-16 fighters hovering in formations over Cairo, Alexandria and other cities.
Each year, Egypt’s army traditionally celebrates the state holiday commemorating the October war against Israel—which eventually led to the recovery of the Sinai Peninsula through peace negotiations—with military performances and flyovers.
Egypt has been gripped by prolonged violence since the overthrow of Morsi on 3 July after mass demonstrations against his turbulent year in office.
The ouster of the former elected president, which was part of a roadmap agreed upon by many political groups and the armed forces, has enraged Islamists who have denounced the move as a violation of democratic “legitimacy.”
Hundreds were killed on 14 August when security forces moved to forcibly disperse two protest camps set up by Morsi loyalists in Cairo and Giza, unleashing days of violent turmoil and deepening polarization.
Militants elsewhere have taken up arms against the state. The army has been battling an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, adjoining Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, where Islamist terrorists have mounted almost daily attacks on security and army targets, killing dozens.