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Egypt Marks Anniversary of 2011 Uprising With Deadly Clashes Between Protesters and Police

At least 15 people — including a 10-year-old boy — were killed during anti-government protests on the anniversary of the first day of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

by Meredith Hoffman
Jan 25 2015, 9:35pm

Photo par Hassan Mohamed/AP

At least 15 people — including a 10-year-old boy — were killed during anti-government protests Sunday in Egypt on the anniversary of the first day of the 2011 uprising that toppled former ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Plainclothes police and security forces fired at protesters in what amounted to Egypt's deadliest day since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was elected in June, Reuters reported.

Most of the deaths were in Cairo's Matariyah district, where police clashed with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that is now outlawed. Two people also died while planting an explosive device that detonated prematurely in the Nile Delta, and several others were killed amid protests in Alexandria.

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A 10-year-old boy was among those killed in Matariyah, but details of his death remain unclear.

The protesters — chanting "down with military rule" and "a revolution all over again" — challenged the government's strict suppression of dissent. Ever since el-Sissi led the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammad Morsi, protests without prior permits have been banned. Dozens of protesters were also killed during the 2014 anniversary demonstrations.

"The situation is the same as it was four years ago and it is getting worse. The regime did not fall yet," engineer Alaa Lasheen, a protester near Tahrir Square, told Reuters.

Police closed off Tahrir Square and other main plazas Sunday and heightened security elsewhere throughout the city. The crackdown followed the recent discovery of about 30 roadside bombs that protesters allegedly planned to detonate in Cairo and other cities during the demonstrations, officials told Reuters.

A city tram was also set on fire Sunday in Alexandria. It was not immediately clear whether the incident was related to the protests, and no injuries were reported.

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Sunday's protests were organized by an Islamic coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood. The Socialist Popular Alliance party also turned out in force, since police killed one of their members Saturday.

Cops fatally shot female activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh during a commemoration of the uprising Saturday. Video footage shows al-Sabbagh, a 32-year-old mother of two from Alexandria, waving signs with other protesters and then moments later falling as cops in black masks fired. The government said it is investigating the shooting.

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"Shaima was killed in cold blood," Medhat al-Zahid, vice president of the Socialist Popular Alliance party that Sabbagh belonged to, told a news conference.

Follow Meredith Hoffman on Twitter: @merhoffman