Defying a security crackdown, thousands of supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and ousted President Mohamed Morsi marched in Cairo on Friday toward Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, the site of one of their former protest camps, which security forces violently cleared out in August, a Reuters witness said.
At least four people are dead in Cairo after clashes broke out in several cities at pro-Morsi rallies, according to multiple sources.
Hundreds of Morsi supporters clashed with opponents as they tried to enter Tahrir Square in central Cairo, and police fired tear gas to disperse them, the Reuters witness said. Military vehicles fired live rounds at anti-coup protesters near the square, a witness said.
The police and army blocked off a separate entrance to the square to prevent a separate pro-Morsi march from approaching, security sources said.
"There are reports that tear gas is being fired on one of the bridges in central Cairo to prevent them from getting to Tahrir Square. In Alexandria, too, police (are) firing tear gas to dissuade local residents from fighting with anti-coup protesters," reported an Al Jazeera correspondent who cannot be named for security reasons.
Protesters marching to Rabaa al-Adawiya Square loudly chanted slogans against army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose military overthrew Morsi on July 3, sparking weeks of outrage and a bloody military crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
Troops and police in Cairo boosted their presence at the square as Morsi supporters approached the area, the state news agency reported.
Egyptian authorities had warned the Brotherhood that any new protest camps would not be tolerated.
In a separate incident, gunmen on Friday attacked an army convoy east of Cairo, killing two soldiers, an Egyptian security official said.
The official said attackers opened fire at the convoy of mostly military trucks towing tanks and other armored vehicles on the road between the Suez Canal city of Ismailia and Cairo.
The two soldiers killed were reportedly conscripts. Two other soldiers were wounded in the attack and were taken to the hospital. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
There has been an increase in attacks against Egyptian troops, mostly in the volatile Sinai Peninsula, but attacks have also taken place closer to the country's capital.
The surge in violence followed the military's ouster of Morsi, which army generals have said was prompted by protests against his policies while he was in office.
Ai Jazeera and wire services