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Egypt deploys troops in Suez after 9 killed on anniversary of uprising

CAIRO/ISMAILIA, Egypt -- Egypt's armed forces deployed troops in the city of Suez early on Saturday after nine people were shot dead during nationwide protests against President Mohamed Mursi, underlining the country's deep divisions as it marked the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Eight of the dead, including a policeman, were shot dead in Suez, and another was shot and killed in the city of Ismailia, medics said. Another 456 people were injured across Egypt, officials said, in unrest on Friday fuelled by anger at Mursi and his Islamist allies over what the protesters see as their betrayal of the revolution.

Mursi said the state would not hesitate in "pursuing the criminals and delivering them to justice". In a statement, he also called on Egyptians to respect the principles of the revolution by expressing their views peacefully.

The troops were deployed in Suez after the head of the state security police in the city asked for reinforcements. The army distributed pamphlets to residents assuring them the deployment was temporary and meant to secure the city.

"We have asked the armed forces to send reinforcements on the ground until we pass this difficult period," Adel Refaat, head of state security in Suez, told state television.

Friday's anniversary laid bare the divide between the Islamists and their secular rivals.

The schism is hindering the efforts of Mursi, elected in June, to revive an economy in crisis and reverse a plunge in Egypt's currency by enticing back investors and tourists.

Inspired by the popular uprising in Tunisia, Egypt's revolution spurred further revolts across the Arab world. But the sense of common purpose that united Egyptians two years ago has given way to internal strife that already triggered bloody street battles last month.

Thousands of opponents of Mursi massed on Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square - the cradle of the revolt against Mubarak - to rekindle the demands of a revolution they say has been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which Mursi emerged.

In Suez, the military deployed armored vehicles to guard state buildings, witnesses and security sources said, as symbols of government were targeted across the country.

Street battles erupted in cities including Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Port Said. Arsonists attacked at least two state-owned buildings. An office used by the Muslim Brotherhood's political party was also torched.

"Our revolution is continuing. We reject the domination of any party over this state. We say no to the Brotherhood state," Hamdeen Sabahy, a popular leftist leader, told Reuters.

The Brotherhood decided against mobilizing for the anniversary, wary of the scope for more conflict after December's violence, stoked by Mursi's decision to fast-track an Islamist-tinged constitution rejected by his opponents.

The Brotherhood denies accusations that it is seeking to dominate Egypt, labeling them a smear campaign by its rivals.

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An Egyptian protester talks to anti-riot soldiers during a protest in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 25. (AP)

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