Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Protester killed in Egyptian clash

Egyptian pro-military supporters shout anti-Muslim Brotherhood slogans during a protest in front of the unknown soldier, at background left, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, March 1, 2013. Hundreds of pro-military supporters gathered to reject the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohammed Morsi's rule calling for the military to return to power. Arabic on red scarves reads, Egypt, and Arabic on banner reads "Morsi: leave, down with Brotherhood, Mohammed Morsi and constitution." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Activists have accused Egyptian police of using excessive force and running over protesters in two cities, killing one person who was allegedly crushed to death by an armoured vehicle.

The violence in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura and the Suez Canal city of Port Said came as US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo for talks with opposition figures ahead of his meeting with the president and defence minister.

Liberals and seculars are angry that Washington is urging them to take part in parliamentary elections and see US support for the vote as backing Islamists who are in power.

The two cities outside Cairo have been calling for a civil disobedience campaign to bring down President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group.

Protesters and opposition parties accuse Mr Morsi and the Brotherhood of trying to monopolise power and of reneging on promises of reform. They also want parts of a new constitution amended and are calling for the formation of a more inclusive government.

Calls for strikes coincide with a diesel crisis which has caused microbuses, taxi drivers and truck drivers to queue for fuel for hours every day across Egypt.

The political turmoil has rocked the country's economy and the government is struggling to contain a rush on the US dollar by worried residents as well as a decline in foreign reserves, which threatens to affect the government's ability to provide for subsidies that millions of Egyptians rely on for survival.

One of the country's most prominent opposition coalitions is calling on people to boycott parliamentary elections scheduled to begin in April for the 546-seat legislature.

The National Salvation Front said the vote will only further polarise the nation and that elections cannot take place during the current climate of violence. The elections commission announced procedures for elections, including an eight-day window starting on March 9 for candidates to register to run.

Since the second anniversary of Egypt's uprising in late January, more than 70 people have been killed in clashes with police.

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