CAIRO (AFP) – At least five demonstrators and a policeman were killed on Friday as supporters of Egypt’s ousted president rallied for the first time since a deadly crackdown on their protest camps.
Security sources said five protesters loyal to ousted president Mohamed Morsi were shot dead in clashes with security forces in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia.
Violence was also reported elsewhere, with state media saying a policeman was killed in an armed attack on a Cairo checkpoint.
And security sources said clashes had broken out between Morsi loyalists and security forces in Tanta, north of the capital.
Earlier, the army had deployed around Cairo, where streets were deserted ahead of what Morsi supporters dubbed a “Friday of anger”.
Soldiers manned roadblocks on major thoroughfares, closing off some of them with armored personnel carriers.
The demonstrations come after 578 people were killed on Wednesday as police cleared two Morsi protest camps, in the country’s bloodiest day in decades.
The interior ministry gave orders on Thursday for police to use live fire if government buildings come under attack.
Residents of some areas formed their own roadblocks, checking identity papers and searching cars.
The international community expressed grave concern, with the president of the U.N. Security Council pleading for “maximum restraint” after an emergency meeting on Wednesday’s violence.
The European Union said Friday that top officials would hold an emergency meeting on the situation in Egypt, where the army-installed government has imposed a state of emergency and night-time curfews.
Sporadic violence continued throughout the country in the form of attacks on security personnel, with 13 killed in the Sinai Peninsula in 24 hours.
Gehad al-Haddad, a Brotherhood spokesman, announced Friday’s marches on his Twitter account.
“Anti-coup rallies… will depart from all mosques of Cairo and head towards Ramsis Square after (noon) prayer in ‘Friday of Anger,'” he wrote.
Laila Moussa, a spokeswoman for the Anti-Coup Alliance of Islamist groups opposing Morsi’s ouster, said similar protests were planned across the country.
She said Morsi loyalists, including at least two former members of parliament, had been arrested in dawn raids ahead of the protests.
On Thursday, Tamarod, the protest group that organised opposition to Morsi’s rule, also urged Egyptians to take to the streets.
It said they should rally on Friday “to reject domestic terrorism and foreign interference.”