January 25, 2014 - 19:40 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Seven people were killed during anti-government marches on Saturday, Jan 25, while thousands rallied in support of the army-led authorities, underlining Egypt's volatile political fissures three years after the fall of autocrat president Hosni Mubarak, according to Reuters.
Security forces lobbed teargas and fired in the air to try to prevent demonstrators opposed to the government from reaching Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of the 2011 uprising that toppled the former air force commander.
Instead of commemorating Mubarak's overthrow, a large number of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir to pledge their support for the army chief who ousted the country's first freely-elected president last year.
The chanting for General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi underscored the prevailing desire for a decisive military man they count on to end the political turmoil that has gripped Egypt since the 2011 Arab Spring revolution and crippled the economy.
But an end to street violence seemed nowhere in sight with the sound of tear gas canisters being fired echoing through downtown Cairo as police confronted anti-government protesters, Reuters said.
Four protesters were killed in different parts of the capital, where armored personnel carriers were deployed to try and keep order, and anyone entering Tahrir had to pass through a metal detector.
In the southern town of Minya, two people were killed in clashes between Morsi supporters and security forces, said Brigadier General Hisham Nasr, director of criminal investigations in the regional police department.
A woman was killed in Egypt's second city of Alexandria during clashes between supporters of Morsi and security forces.
Sisi toppled President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July after mass protests against what critics called his mismanagement and increasingly arbitrary rule, triggering a confrontation with the veteran Islamist movement that has hit investment and tourism hard.
The general, who served as head of military intelligence under Mubarak, is expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency soon and likely to win by a landslide in elections, expected within six months.