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Egypt opposition take to the street, clash with president's supporters

Compared to months of turmoil Egypt's streets have seen, the demonstrations were quieter and the number of protesters smaller. Demonstraters accuse president Mursi of seeking to monopolize power.

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Five people wounded

Violence in Tahrir flared when witnesses heard shots. The Health Ministry reported five people wounded in Tahrir, the state news agency said. The agency also reported a doctor at a temporary clinic in Tahrir said he treated four people including three with gunshot wounds who were taken to hospital nearby.

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Elsewhere, police set up a cordon around the presidential palace to protect it from protesters gathered there. The army blocked a road to the Defence Ministry, where there had been clashes between protesters and troops this year.

"We must call for a revolution against the Brotherhood," said Maha Salem, wearing a Muslim veil, at a protest near Cairo's Nasser City. "They want to take over the country for themselves. Egypt is a civilian state not an Islamist one."

The organisers, among them opposition politician Mohamed Abou Hamed, want an investigation into the funding of the Brotherhood, repressed by Mubarak during his 30-year rule but which has dominated the political scene since he was toppled.

In a morning headline, the daily Al Masry Al Youm called the demonstration "the first test for Mursi", who was sworn in on June 30 as Egypt's first president not drawn from army ranks.

Protect peaceful protests

The police said they would protect peaceful protests but would crack down on any lawbreakers after speculation in the press and social media that protesters could target Brotherhood premises. Protest organisers said it would be peaceful.

April 6 said in a statement before the protest that it disagreed with the Brotherhood on many issues but added: "Does all that and more push us to issue a judgement now to burn the group's members or premises and exile them from the country?"

Ahmed Said, head of the Free Egyptians, another liberal group staying away, wrote on Facebook: "Those who want to bring down the Brotherhood should bring them down via elections."

Though some say he deserves more time, he has still drawn criticism, including accusations that he has sought to muzzle the media. Two journalists face charges of insulting Mursi.

However, some liberals back Mursi's early moves, such as his Aug. 12 decision to dismiss top generals, who were seen as obstructing civilian rule, and to cancel a decree that had given the army legislative power in the absence of the parliament, that the generals had dissolved based on a court order.

However, one of his biggest tasks will be to fix the economy. This week, he launched talks for a $4.8 billion International Monetary Fund loan, a bid to rebuild confidence in what was once a darling of frontier market investors.

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