The anniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprising brought a violent display of the country's furious divisions today, as giant crowds danced at government-backed rallies and security forces crushed demonstrations by rival Islamists and some secular activists. Clashes nationwide killed at least 29 protesters, health officials said. The starkly contrasting scenes reflect the three years of turmoil Egypt has faced since the Jan. 25, 2011 revolution began. Among today's conflicting scenes:
- The fiercest clashes raged in an eastern Cairo suburb, where Islamist supporters fought with security forces for hours in pitched street battles. Troops fired over the crowd to disperse protesters who threw gasoline bombs.
- A car bomb exploded outside a security camp in the city of Suez, where gunmen clashed with police, witnesses said. Nine civilians were wounded, authorities said.
- In neighboring Ismailiya, protesters chanting "down with military rule" also battled security forces. In Alexandria, a female protester was shot and killed during clashes, officials said, and two protesters were killed in the southern city of Minya, security officials said.
- Crowds also turned on journalists. More than a dozen journalists were beaten by the demonstrators or detained by police for protection from angry crowds.
- Military helicopters showered crowds in Tahrir Square with small flags and gift coupons to buy refrigerators, heaters, blankets, and home appliances.
- Many celebrators demanded army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi run for president; soldiers guarding Tahrir Square joined them in chanting: "The people want the execution of the (Muslim) Brotherhood."
- Mohamed Morsi's supporters, on the other hand, used the anniversary to build new momentum in their defiance of the military and its political transition plan, though they have been hit by a crippling police crackdown and rising public resentment against the Brotherhood.