Hundreds protest in Egypt after leading general announces his run for president

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By MAGGIE HYDE, Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) — Hundreds of supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi took to the streets Friday to protest the decision by the country's former military chief to run in upcoming presidential elections, sparking scattered clashes, including one that claimed the life of a female journalist.

The former military chief, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, made a much-anticipated announcement earlier this week that he would be retiring from the military to launch his presidential campaign. He is widely expected to win.

Friday's rallies took place in several cities, including areas in and around the capital of Cairo and in the northern city of Alexandria. Demonstrators attempted to block a main road with burning tires in Cairo that leads to the famed Giza pyramids, but security officials said they were able to bring the situation under control.

In the eastern Cairo district of Ain Shams, security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters. A female journalist named Mayda Ashraf was killed while covering the clashes there, a security official said.

Authorities arrested 38 supporters of the former Islamist president Morsi, who was ousted from power by the military in July, at protests in the cities of Giza, Mansoura and Minya, according to a security official. The officials said students from the Islamic university of Al-Azhar threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at security forces.

Dozens of el-Sissi's supporters also rallied in Alexandria and Cairo on Friday, waving Egyptian flags and raising posters bearing his picture.

In his first interview following his resignation, published Friday in the Egyptian al-Watan and Kuwaiti al-Rai papers, el-Sissi said that he knows there's a huge responsibility ahead for him. He said he would offer "a practical plan that could be implemented in reality on the short term."

"The people bore a lot the past few years and it's time to harvest the fruit of two revolutions," he said.

Supporters of Morsi and his group, the Muslim Brotherhood, said Thursday they will continue protests against what they called el-Sissi's "republic of fear."

In the Suez Canal city of Port Said, security officials said two unidentified assailants on a motorcycle torched a stand built by locals supporting el-Sissi that was being used to distribute campaign materials.

All of the security officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

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