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Violence reported at pro-Morsi demonstrations; 6 dead

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CAIRO, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Violence erupted across Egypt Friday as backers of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi tossed gasoline bombs and clashed with police, leaving six dead.

Three protesters were killed in Cairo's Nasr City district, two were shot to death in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia and one was killed in Alexandria, an Egyptian Health Ministry statement said Friday.

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The pro-Morsi National Coalition to Support Legitimacy, the arm of the Muslim Brotherhood that called for demonstrations, claimed 19 protesters were killed by police.

"We are noticing increasing violence on the [pro-Morsi protesters'] side. They are using machine guns and shooting at policemen and random citizens," Ministry of Interior spokesman Hany Abdel Latif told Daily News Egypt.

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State-owned al-Ahram reported police arrested a Muslim Brotherhood member allegedly carrying 14 improvised explosive devices in Giza where protesters threw Molotov cocktails at an armored police vehicle and shot at police attempting to escape the vehicle.

At Cairo's al-Azhar University, demonstrators set the agriculture building on fire and damaged five administration buildings. In clashes in Nasr City, protesters threw rocks and fireworks, destroying a bus and several other vehicles, as police threw teargas, al-Ahram said.

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Supporters of the deposed president, called for demonstrations Friday ahead of their boycott of a constitutional referendum Jan. 14-15.

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Morsi supporters have rejected the constitution that was amended after his ouster.

Security forces closed off Tahrir Square in Cairo, as well as other sites of major pro-Morsi protests during the summer. Ahram Online also reported armored vehicles, barricades and barbed wire were seen near the most volatile protest sites as well as along major streets in Cairo.

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