Three men were killed and nearly 265 pro-Islamist protesters were arrested as clashes erupted across Egypt yesterday, after authorities outlawed rallies by the Muslim Brotherhood, now designated a terrorist group.
Riot police fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters in several cities, swiftly clamping down on rallies after the midday Friday prayers, the usual time for Islamist demonstrations.
The military-installed government has banned protests by Brotherhood members demanding the reinstatement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, after listing the movement as a terrorist organisation on Wednesday.
Interior ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif told AFP police were investigating the deaths. He accused the protesters of using firearms and petrol bombs.
Smoke rose from Al-Azhar university's student dormitory in Cairo as police fired tear gas against protesters pelting them with rocks from inside the building, AFP correspondents said.
A security official said protesters torched several police cars in Cairo and in Minya province.
The decision to blacklist the Brotherhood came a day after a suicide bombing of a police building killed 15 people. The government blamed the attack on the Brotherhood despite a claim of responsibility from a Sinai-based jihadist group.
Tensions rose even further after a home-made bomb exploded next to a bus on Thursday, wounding five people.
Police also clashed with protesters in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya, an AFP correspondent said, while state media reported that police fired tear gas at other protesters in the capital.
The interior ministry overnight said a man was killed in clashes around Al-Azhar university between Islamist students and civilians who oppose them.
The Brotherhood has denounced its listing as a terrorist organisation and vowed to continue staging peaceful rallies.
The Brotherhood's designation as a terrorist group carries harsh penalties, with the group's leaders facing possible death sentences and protesters looking at up to five years in prison.