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Six killed in Muslim Brotherhood protests in Egypt


Egyptians mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan in Cairo. (AP)

Egyptians mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan in Cairo. (AP)

Egyptians mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan in Cairo. (AP)

Clashes between Egyptian security forces and Muslim Brotherhood supporters have killed at least six people after demonstrations in Cairo at the start of a major religious holiday weekend descended into violence.

It was the deadliest toll at Islamist protests for months in the capital, and came as part of a violent crackdown on the Brotherhood, which authorities have banned and labelled a terrorist organisation.

The fighting erupted when hundreds of Brotherhood supporters staged a march in the Talibiya neighborhood of Giza, which is part of greater Cairo, after morning prayers following the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the start of the major Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr.

Skirmishes broke out between marchers on one side and local residents and police on the other. The violence quickly escalated with live ammunition and shotguns, a security official said.

Brotherhood supporters took to social media to accuse security forces of firing at peaceful protesters, while the Interior Ministry and police officials said in a statement that they were fired on by armed protesters.

A video circulating on social media showed a crowd of young demonstrators in a stand-off with police, shooting fireworks in their direction and burning flares before fleeing as explosions are heard.

The ministry said in a statement that five demonstrators were killed in the Talibiya clashes, and one in the nearby town of Nahia, an Islamist stronghold where another group of protesters clashed with police. A total of 15 people were wounded.

It said that police had gained control of the Talibiya area, which is near the main road that leads to the famed Giza pyramids, and had arrested 15 Brotherhood supporters.

The ministry said the man killed in Nahia was a known Brotherhood supporter and demonstrator who had previously been detained by police. The town is fervently anti-government and is considered a no-go zone for security forces.

Political violence has increased in Egypt, two years after Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was ousted by the military, following mass protests against his rule. After Mr Morsi's removal, his successor and current president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi launched a sweeping crackdown on dissent that has killed hundreds and jailed thousands.

Attacks on security personnel and officials also intensified after Mr Morsi's removal, and outlawed demonstrations continue regularly in poor suburbs and villages.