x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Muslim Brotherhood supporters and police clashed across Egypt on Friday, leaving three dead and 265 arrested in protests after the government declared the group a terrorist organisation.

CAIRO // Muslim Brotherhood supporters and police clashed across Egypt on Friday, leaving three dead and 265 arrested in protests after the government declared the group a terrorist organisation.

The deaths occurred in Cairo, Damietta and Minya provinces, the interior ministry said in an e-mailed statement.

The widening clampdown has increased tensions in a country unsettled by the worst internal strife of its modern history since the army removed the president, Mohammed Morsi, in July.

The Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organisation after 16 people were killed in a suicide attack on a police station on Tuesday, although the group condemned the attack and it was claimed by a radical faction based in the Sinai Peninsula.

The Brotherhood and its allies had called for protests in response to the government decision.

Clashes between police and protesters flared in Cairo and at least four other cities on Friday.

Police fired birdshot and tear gas at student protesters at Al Azhar’s Cairo campus. Gunfire was heard in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, where demonstrators threw fireworks and stones at police.

A number of officers were injured in the clashes, the interior ministry said.

Some analysts believe Egypt may face a protracted spell of attacks by radicals, in addition to eruptions of civil strife – a student supporter of the Brotherhood was killed late on Thursday in what the interior ministry described as a melee between supporters and opponents of the Brotherhood in north-east Cairo.

The army-backed government has said violence would not derail a political transition plan, the next step of which is a January referendum on a new constitution.

* Reuters and Bloomberg