Egypt Brotherhood Protests Stay Low-Key Amid Security Crackdown

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood held rallies today that drew diminished numbers as the group struggles to regain its footing amid a security crackdown.

A few thousand people heeded calls by the Brotherhood and protested in Cairo and other cities against the army ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi two months ago, as police and soldiers blocked key roads.

There were no initial reports of serious violence at rallies in Cairo or Giza, though there were some clashes in Gharbiya, north of Cairo, where police used tear gas to disperse protesters, and in the coastal city of Alexandria, according to state-run Ahram Gate website. One person died in Port Said during clashes, Ahram Gate reported. At least 33 were injured in clashes in Sharqia province, the Health Ministry said in an e-mailed statement, while the Brotherhood said one was killed.

Violence spread across the country after the army-backed government sent police to clear two Islamist protest camps in Cairo and Giza earlier this month, killing hundreds. Since then Brotherhood leaders have been targeted by a wave of arrests.

“The people want to execute the butcher,” protesters yelled, according to footage on Al Jazeera’s Egyptian channel. They were referring to army chief Abdelfatah al-Seesi, who led the July 3 ouster of Mursi.

A policeman and a civilian were killed today as gunmen in two cars opened fire on a police station in the Heliopolis neighborhood in Cairo, the Interior Ministry said.

Three senior Brotherhood figures, including Mohamed El-Beltagy, were arrested yesterday. Security forces detained 140 Brotherhood supporters rallying in Qalyubia province today.

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