Matariya in eastern Cairo witnessed violent clashes on Thursday and Friday between police and protesters supporting former president Mohamed Morsi, that saw three killed.
The protests took place to commemorate the first anniversary of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Nahda protest dispersals.
On Thursday, Al-Ahram reported that a police officer was shot with live ammunition as security forces were trying to stop an attempt by demonstrations to set fire to a gas station in Matariya.
The Ministry of Interior (MOI) said that around 500 protesters were in Horreya Street as they attacked police forces by live rounds and shotguns.
“One Central Security Forces officer was injured, fives civilians were injured, and one protester was killed,” the ministry said.
Hundreds of protesters of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood allegedly responded by throwing Molotov cocktails and firing live rounds at Matariya police station. They clashed with security forces guarding the perimeter of the station, setting it on fire, according to state-run Al-Ahram.
However, sources from the interior ministry denied the burning of the police station, saying the fire came from surrounding piles of rubbish, set on fire by protesters.
They said: “The police station has been empty and under construction since the 25 January Revolution.”
The Anti-Coup Alliance branch in Matariya said in a Friday statement that peaceful protesters were attacked by “coup forces”, which lead the demonstration to end.
The alliance added: “However when local residents were attacked, many took to the street clashing with the police.”
One of the casualties on Thursday was female student Iman Ahmed, 18, from Alexandria. Ahmed was shot in the back by shotgun rounds, which lead to her death, said Rasha, who attended the wounded and refused to give her last name.
“The victim’s family took the body to a private hospital to extract a report on the causes of death,” Rasha said. “Then they headed to a police station to report the incident where they were assaulted verbally and physically. Currently the body is in the Zeinhom Morgue, awaiting permission for burial.”
Another causality was Al-Azhar student Mohamed Shahat Labib, who was shot passing by Matariya square. His father, Shahat Labib, told Daily News Egypt that his son was shot by a police officer stationed in an armoured vehicle.
Labib said: “The bullet came from the back causing major injuries to the heart and the liver.”
He added that his son was in Cairo to present his papers to Al-Azhar University.
“The body remained in the hospital for 36 hours as we were waiting for the prosecution to issue the order of burial. Matariya prosecution department refused to cooperate with us, so we had to go to the Fifth Settlement prosecution,” Labib said. “The police however pressured us not to accuse the security forces for the incident, and we were threatened.”
Contradicting the official count of five deaths in Matariya, others were brutally killed but their families were pressured by the police not to mention that they were shot in the streets, said Labib. The Daily News Egypt however cannot confirm this.
Matariya, a working class neighbourhood and a stronghold for Islamists, has witnessed several violent confrontations between Islamist groups and security forces since Morsi’s ouster last year.
Last January, Matariya saw the worst violence during the third 25 January Revolution anniversary, as pro-Morsi protesters confronted local residents and riot police. WikiThawra, an independent database dedicated to the Egyptian revolution, listed 30 dead and 70 injured in the mentioned incident.
During the events of the 25 January Revolution, the neighbourhood witnessed large anti-government demonstrations and confrontations with the security forces. According to an Amnesty International report in May 2011, angry protesters burned approximately 20 cars belonging to the riot police and clashed with security forces in the streets. Protesters also looted and set fire to two police stations in the area.