Cairo, Egypt — Riot police clashed with supporters of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president Friday, leaving 11 dead in ongoing street battles where an increasing number of protesters are carrying firearms ahead of a key referendum they urge to boycott later this month.
Fighting spread through heavily populated residential areas in several cities and provinces, including Cairo, Giza, Ismailia and Fayoum, as hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members and their supporters threw rocks at security forces, who responded with water cannons and tear gas.
Black smoke hung in the air as protesters burned tires and hurled Molotov cocktails and fireworks at black-clad security forces.
A number of police vehicles were set on fire, public buses were damaged and main roads blocked by protesters.
The Health Ministry said 11 people, including three in Cairo, were killed and more than 52 injured in the protests.
A Brotherhood-led alliance said on its Facebook page the death toll had reached 19.
In the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, an Associated Press cameraman saw dozens of armed protesters carrying homemade pistols and engaging in violent clashes with security forces, despite Brotherhood claims that protests are peaceful.