Over 50 dead in clashes in Egypt

Rival factions clash during national holiday

At least 50 people were killed in clashes across Egypt as supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi clashed with security forces on 6 October. The violence took place during Armed Forces Day commemorations, marking the 40th anniversary of Egypt's participation in the 1973 war with Israel.

Most of the deaths took place in Cairo, where the country's two main factions used the occasion to highlight both sides of the current political situation.

Opponents of the incarcerated Morsi gathered in Tahrir Square to praise General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for his role in overthrowing the former president, whose supporters were restrained from advancing towards Tahrir Square, the scene of all Egypt's major rallies since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.

Violence erupted in the western Cairo district of Dokki during the afternoon of 6 October when tens of thousands of Morsi supporters were blocked by soldiers, police and vigilantes, resulting in scores of deaths and injuries.

Egypt's interior ministry said it had arrested 423 people and described the clashes as an attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to "ruin the celebrations and cause friction with the masses." During military celebrations later that evening el-Sissi addressed the crowd at a Cairo stadium: "There are those who think the military can be broken...The military is like the pyramids, because the Egyptian people are on its side."

The death toll on 6 October was the highest on a single day since 14 August when security forces raided two sit-in protest camps by Morsi supporters, killing 638 according to official figures from the health ministry. Hundreds of Islamist protesters have been killed since Morsi was deposed by the military in July, after having served just over a year in office.

Along with other senior Muslim Brotherhood figures he has been imprisoned and faces trial, as Egypt continues its crackdown on the movement's leaders, members and assets.

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