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07/22/2011 04:26 pm ET | Updated Sep 21, 2011

Egypt Protests: Alexandria Demonstration Blocked By Military Police

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, July 22 (Reuters) - Egyptian military police fired shots in the air and beat demonstrators blocking a main road in Alexandria on Friday, witnesses said, a move which could further sour relations between the army and civilians.

They said the clash erupted after hundreds of protesters blocking the coastal road near the army's northern command headquarters refused to leave the area. Police fired shots in the air and charged demonstrators who hurled rocks at them.

"The military police are firing in the air. They are also beating protesters with batons and kicking them hard," a witness told Reuters.

Thousands of Egyptians have kept up protests across the country to press for swift trials of policemen accused of killing demonstrators in January after the outbreak of an uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

The protesters have maintained rallies and sit-in strikes despite a cabinet reshuffle and promises to speed up trials and political reforms.

(Reporting by Abdel Rahman Youssef; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Sophie Hares)

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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