Police and soldiers clamped a tight security lid on sensitive sites in the capital and elsewhere Thursday, the one-year anniversary of the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. Scattered clashes between protesters and security forces left at least one demonstrator dead, state news media reported, and about 200 were arrested.
Two people were reported to have been killed in the town of Kerdasa, a few miles outside Cairo, near the pyramids. They were suspected militants who were apparently preparing a homemade bomb that exploded prematurely, reports said.
Several other crude explosive devices went off or were defused in and around the capital and the coastal city of Alexandria, but no injuries or deaths were reported.
Supporters of Morsi had hoped to challenge security forces with a show of strength, calling on followers to take to the streets en masse. But the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's movement, has been decimated by a months-long crackdown that has left thousands of its backers in jail or dead. Morsi himself is on trial for capital offenses.
The Interior Ministry said 157 protesters were arrested during clashes. An additional 39 who were already on the wanted list were also rounded up, it said in a statement.
Armored personnel carriers sealed off sites that included Tahrir Square, which was the center of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak and the venue for many mass gatherings since then.
Access was also blocked to the scene of the worst violence aftter Morsi's ouster, Rabaa al Adawiya square, where hundreds were killed in mid-August last year when security forces broke up a pro-Morsi protest camp.
Hassan is a special correspondent.