Egyptian protesters throw fireworks at police 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)
CAIRO/PORT SAID - At least one protester was shot dead and dozens wounded on Friday when riot police clashed with demonstrators demanding the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, witnesses said.
Youths threw petrol bombs and shot fireworks at the outer wall of Morsi's Cairo presidential compound as night fell. Police responded by firing water cannon and tear gas leading to skirmishes in the surrounding streets.
Two witnesses said they had seen a protester shot dead in Cairo with live ammunition in front of them.
"It's verified. I am at the morgue. He was shot with two bullets, and that's the report of the hospital. The shots were in the neck and the right side of the head," said one of the witnesses, lawyer Ragia Omran. Medical and security sources confirmed Mohamed Hussein Qurany, 23, was killed with live bullets.
The head of Egypt's ambulance service said at least 54 people had been wounded across the country, mostly in Cairo.
The renewed violence brought an end to a few days of calm after the deadliest week of Morsi's seven months in power. Protests marking the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak have killed nearly 60 people since Jan. 25, prompting the head of the army to warn this week that the state was on the verge of collapse.
With multi-colored fireworks bouncing off their shields and bursting among them, helmeted and baton-wielding riot police chased protesters at the palace and set their tents ablaze. Petrol bombs briefly set fire to a building inside the compound.
The head of the Republican Guard, which protects the palace, condemned what he described as attempts to climb the compound walls and storm a gate. In a statement to the state news agency, he urged protesters to keep their demonstration peaceful.
Earlier, men dressed in mourning black marched through the Suez Canal city of Port Said, scene of the worst bloodshed of the past eight days, chanting and shaking their fists.
"There is no God but God and Mohamed Morsi is the enemy of God," they chanted. Brandishing portraits of those killed in recent days, they shouted: "We will die like they did, to get justice!"
There were also scuffles earlier near Cairo's central Tahrir Square, where police fired teargas at stone-throwing youths. In Alexandria, protesters blocked roads, staged a sit-in on the railway and tried to break into the TV and radio building.
The protesters accuse Morsi of betraying the spirit of the revolution by concentrating too much power in his own hands and those of his Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood accuses the opposition of trying to overthrow the first democratically elected leader in Egypt's 5,000-year history.
Mohamed Ahmed, 26, protesting at the presidential palace, said: "I am here because I want my rights, the ones the revolution called for and which were never achieved."
For the Port Said marchers, Friday was also the first anniversary of a soccer stadium riot that killed 70 people last year. Death sentences handed down on Saturday against 21 Port Said men over the riots helped fuel the past week's violence there, which saw dozens shot dead in clashes with police.