Cairo (AFP) – Nearly 150 pro-Islamist protesters were arrested as clashes erupted across Egypt Friday, after authorities vowed to crack down on rallies by the Muslim Brotherhood, now blacklisted as a terrorist group.
Riot police fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters in several cities across the country, swiftly clamping down on the rallies after the end of midday Friday prayers, the usual time for Islamist demonstrations.
The military-installed government has outlawed protests by Brotherhood members demanding the reinstatement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, after the government listed the movement as a terrorist organization on Wednesday.
Smoke rose from Al-Azhar university’s student dormitory in Cairo as police fired tear gas, while protesters pelted them with rocks from inside the building, AFP correspondents said.
A security official said protesters torched several police cars in Cairo and the central Minya province.
Police seemed intent on hunting down any suspected protesters, with more than a dozen armored vehicles racing to a Cairo mosque after police received reports of Brotherhood members gathering.
The policemen combed nearby buildings searching for suspects. They dragged two men out of a car after seeing that they had gas masks with them.
Police also clashed with protesters in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya, an AFP correspondent said, while state media reported that police fired tear gas at other protesters in Cairo.