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Dozens killed in Egypt protests

Security officials in Egypt have said the death toll from clashes across the country has increased to at least 60 people killed.

The officials said that 52 civilians and eight police officers had died.

Violence erupted after protesters took to the streets on Friday, responding to the Muslim Brotherhood's call following the deaths of 638 people on Wednesday when security officials raided two sit-in protests organised by the group.

The protests descended into violence when supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi clashed with armed vigilantes.

The protesters launched their demonstrations in defiance of a military-imposed state of emergency. Carrying pistols and assault rifles, residents battled with protesters taking part in what the Brotherhood called the "Day of Rage."

As military helicopters circled overhead, residents furious with the Brotherhood protesters pelted them with rocks and glass bottles. The two sides also fired on one another, sparking running street battles.

Unlike in past clashes between protesters and police, Friday's clashes took an even darker turn when residents and possibly police in civilian clothing engaged in the violence. Police in uniform were nowhere to be seen as residents fired at one another on a bridge that crosses over Zamalek in Cairo, an upmarket island neighbourhood where many foreigners and ambassadors live.

The Brotherhood-led marches in Cairo headed toward Ramses Square, near the country's main train station. The area is also near Tahrir Square, where the army put up barbed wires and tanks as a buffer between the protesters and a small anti-Brotherhood encampment in the square.

At least 12 people were killed in Ramses Square after protesters clashed with residents in the area, security officials said. Associated Press photographers saw many of the dead inside the nearby Al-Fath mosque, which had turned into a field hospital. Some appeared to have been shot in the head and chest during an attack on a police station.

The violence erupted shortly after midday weekly prayers when tens of thousands of Brotherhood supporters answered the group's call to protest across Egypt in defiance of a military-imposed state of emergency following the country's bloodshed earlier this week.

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