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Egypt Islamists rally ahead of Morsi trial

Nov. 1, 2013 7:59 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 2, 2013 4:19 P.M.)
CAIRO (AFP) -- Islamists held protests on Friday and clashed with police in the Egyptian city of Alexandria ahead of the start of the trial of deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

The pro-Morsi coalition that called for the protests said it would also hold a rally on Monday outside the court where Morsi is expected to appear.

The Coalition, which demands Morsi's reinstatement, also called for rallies across Egypt starting on Friday.

Protesters clashed with police who used tear gas in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, a security official said.

Police arrested 60 protesters, the official said.

The clashes came a day after police arrested 20 female Islamist activists in Alexandria after they scuffled with bystanders during a protest, another official said.

In the Nile Delta city of Zaqaziq, five people were wounded when pro-Morsi protesters clashed with opponents, the official MENA news agency reported.

In Cairo, several hundred Islamists protested outside the main presidential palace as soldiers and police looked on, an AFP correspondent said.

Interior ministry officials say 20,000 policemen will be deployed on Monday to guard the south Cairo academy hosting the trial and to secure Morsi's transport to the makeshift court room.

"The mass rally on Monday ... should be outside the (Police Officers' Academy) building in Tora," the Anti-Coup Coalition, which is led by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, said in a statement.

Morsi, held at a secret location since the military overthrew him on July 3, is charged with inciting the murder of protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

He is to be tried along with 14 other defendants.

The Islamist's supporters have been battered by a police crackdown since his ouster. About 1,000 people have been killed in clashes and more than 2,000 arrested.

The campaign of arrests of Islamists has left much of their leadership in jail and restricted their ability to organize mass protests.

The Anti-Coup Coalition says it believes in peaceful protest, but it has not shied away from confronting the police.

On October 6, almost 60 protesters were killed by the police in clashes when the Islamists tried to march on Cairo's Tahrir Square as the military and its supporters commemorated the 1973 war with Israel.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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