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Egyptian police fire tear gas at protesters near Defence Ministry

Source: Reuters - Wed, 1 Jan 2014 01:18 PM
Author: Reuters
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CAIRO, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Egyptian police fired tear gas and water cannons at hundreds of pro-Islamist protesters demonstrating near the Defence Ministry in Cairo on Wednesday, state media said.

Protests have been staged by supporters of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi since the army removed him from office in July after mass protests against his rule.

On Wednesday, the state-run Al-Ahram website said about 300 university students from the Muslim Brotherhood had blocked a road near the Defence Ministry and chanted anti-police and army slogans.

"The police had to use water cannons and tear gas after the students refused to open the street and leave," Ahram said adding some protesters were arrested.

Police also fired tear gas on pro-Mursi student protesters from the state's main university in the Nile Delta city of Zakazik, Mursi's home town.

Mursi's removal opened the bloodiest chapter in Egypt's modern history. Security forces have killed hundreds of his supporters, while around 400 soldiers and policemen have been killed, many in attacks by Islamist militants in the Sinai peninsula, bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Students supporting Mursi have been staging daily protests inside and outside their universities since the start of a new academic year in September. At least 10 students have been killed during clashes with the police.

Last November, Egypt's army-installed interim government issued a law that banned protests near or originating from places of worship and made it compulsory to seek Interior Ministry permission to hold a demonstration.

Since the law was passed, hundreds of Brotherhood protesters and liberal activists have been arrested for demonstrating without permission. (Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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