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Egypt announces early election after carnage

27 January 2014, 06:47

Cairo - Egypt Sunday announced early presidential elections likely to anoint the general who overthrew Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, as the country reeled after a weekend of violence killed dozens of people.

Interim president Adly Mansour declared the poll in a televised address, a day after 49 people died in clashes between Islamist protesters and police and thousands rallied in Cairo in support of military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Sisi was expected to announce his candidacy for the election, scheduled before mid-April, after a show of support including the large rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

But the weekend clashes and bombings also highlighted the interim government's precarious grip seven months after Morsi's overthrow.

The violence came as Egypt commemorated the 2011 uprising that overthrew veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak, leading to three years of tumult that many hope Sisi's election will end.

Over Friday and Saturday, six bombs exploded in Cairo and the canal city of Suez, killing six people and wounding dozens in an escalation of a militant campaign Mansour has pledged to eradicate.

Separately, 49 people were killed in clashes when police clamped down on protests by Morsi's Islamist supporters and anti-military activists, the health ministry said.

As Mansour addressed the nation to announce the early presidential election, relatives of those killed on Saturday assembled outside a Cairo morgue, chanting anti-military slogans.

"Down with the military! The people want to topple the regime!" they chanted outside the Zeinhom morgue as they collected the corpses of loved ones.



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