Three Killed, Dozens Wounded Islamists and Police Clash Across Egypt

The UN's Human Rights Council expressed concerns over the government's wide-scale use of violence against opposition protesters, the first reprimand from the international body since a bloody crackdown on dissent in the country began.

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Three protesters were killed and dozens wounded as Muslim Brotherhood supporters and police clashed across Egypt on Friday, the health ministry and security sources said.

Security sources said two were killed in street battles with the police in the Cairo district of Alf Maskin and a third in the capital's Abbaseya. Protesters fired weapons and hurled petrol bombs at police who responded with tear gas, they said.

The Interior Ministry said it had arrested 47 people it said were Brotherhood members during the violence, which broke out after Friday prayers.

Four policemen suffered wounds from birdshot in the port city of Suez, it said. The health ministry said 48 people were wounded nationwide.

Police cars were burned by protesters in at least two Cairo districts.

A group of 27 countries on the United Nations Human Rights Council expressed concerns Friday over the Egyptian government's wide-scale use of violence against opposition protesters, the first reprimand from the international body since a bloody crackdown on dissent in the country began.

In the UN declaration, the 27 countries, among them the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Turkey, called on the Egyptian government to be held accountable for its actions over the past months, and for any future investigations' findings to be made public.

"We express concern about the restrictions on the rights to peaceful assembly, expression and association, and about the disproportionate use of lethal force by security forces against demonstrators which resulted in large numbers of deaths and injuries," the declaration read. "Security forces have a duty to respect the right to peaceful assembly ... even when faced with persistent security challenges."

Activists welcomed the declaration. "Egyptian authorities are now on notice that the international community will not ignore their crackdown on dissent and impunity for repeated, unlawful killings of protesters," said Julie de Rivero, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch.

Egypt has been in a state of turmoil since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi of the Brotherhood last July after protests against his rule.

The Brotherhood has kept up its protests against Morsi's overthrew in spite of a severe crackdown on the movement that saw the group labelled a terrorist organization in December, hundreds of its supporters killed and thousands arrested.

The Brotherhood says it remains committed to peacefully resisting what it calls a military coup against a freely elected leader.

The Brotherhood had been the most organized political force in the country in the aftermath of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, winning five elections.

Army-backed authorities face persistent street protests by Islamists and a fast-growing insurgency by Sinai-based militants that have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since Morsi's fall.

The government does not distinguish between the Brotherhood and the Sinai militants.

Saudi Arabia, which hailed army chief Field Marshall Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's overthrow of Morsi, designated the Brotherhood a terrorist group on Friday, a move that an Egyptian government spokesman said Cairo welcomed.

The Brotherhood said in a statement that it was "surprised" by the decision, which it said "contradicts entirely with (Saudi Arabia's) historical relations" with the Islamist movement founded in 1928.

Egyptian protestors help a wounded comrade during clashes with Egyptian police following a demonstration in support of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi.Credit: AFP

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