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Security tightened in Egypt on anniversary of 2011 uprising as activists mourn latest death

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CAIRO — Egypt tightened security in Cairo and other cities Sunday as police moved to break up scattered, small protests marking the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

One protester was killed in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria as police clashed with a demonstration of some 300 supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, security officials said. Earlier, a firebombing set a city tram ablaze, they said.

In the Nile Delta province of Beheira, two suspected Islamists were killed when a bomb they were placing under a high voltage tower exploded, officials said.

Two police officers were injured by shrapnel when a roadside bomb exploded in an eastern Cairo district and a gas pipeline was blown up in a Nile Delta province, according to the security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to talk to journalists.

Cairo, a city of some 18 million people, appeared mostly deserted Sunday, with many residents staying home to avoid being caught up in any turmoil.

The protests and the stepped-up security came as activists mourned the death of a female protester shot Saturday in downtown Cairo while taking part in a gathering commemorating the nearly 900 protesters killed in the 2011 revolt.

Activists blame police for the death of Shaimaa el-Sabagh, a 32-year-old mother of one from Alexandria. The government says it is investigating.

Videos posted online show el-Sabagh, a member of the leftist Popular Alliance party, with other protesters carrying placards and chanting "bread, freedom and social justice" — the chief slogan of the 2011 uprising. She and others carried wreaths of roses they intended to place at nearby Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the uprising, in memory of the fallen protesters.

PHOTO: The coffin of  Shaimaa el-Sabagh is carried out of the Zenhom morgue in Cairo, Egypt early Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. On the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, activists mourned the death of el-Sabagh, a 32-year-old mother of one from the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, who was shot Saturday in downtown Cairo while taking part in a gathering commemorating the nearly 900 protesters killed in the revolt. Activists blame police for the death and the government says it is investigating. (AP Photo/Ahmed Abd El-Gwad, El Shorouk Newspaper)
The coffin of Shaimaa el-Sabagh is carried out of the Zenhom morgue in Cairo, Egypt early Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. On the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, activists mourned the death of el-Sabagh, a 32-year-old mother of one from the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, who was shot Saturday in downtown Cairo while taking part in a gathering commemorating the nearly 900 protesters killed in the revolt. Activists blame police for the death and the government says it is investigating. (AP Photo/Ahmed Abd El-Gwad, El Shorouk Newspaper)

In the videos, two masked, black-clad police officers point their rifles in her direction before gunshots ring out and el-Sabagh falls. She is later shown carried by a male protester as blood seeped out of her mouth. The videos are consistent with Associated Press reporting on the shooting.

The prominent Hisham Mubarak Law Center said in a Facebook post that five of el-Sabagh's fellow protesters who had given investigators their account of the incident were charged with assaulting police and taking part in an illegal demonstration.

There was no immediate confirmation from authorities of the group's claim.

El-Sabagh's death is the second of a female protester in recent days. Islamist Sondos Reda was shot dead during a Friday protest in Alexandria. Activists also blame the police.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government has shown zero tolerance for street protests since a law adopted in 2013 banned them without prior permission. Dozens of activists have been convicted and jailed for violating the law. A parallel crackdown is targeting supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, with thousands from his Muslim Brotherhood group imprisoned or facing trial.

The protests were mostly in response to a call for demonstrations made by an Islamist coalition opposed to el-Sissi and led by the Brotherhood.

Sunday's protests came as police sealed off main squares in Cairo, including Tahrir, and beefed up security at vital state installations. The measures followed the discovery of at least 30 roadside bombs in Cairo and a string of other cities intended to be detonated Sunday, security officials said.


Associated Press writer Sarah El Deeb contributed to this report.

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