Riot police deployed after Egypt palace clashes

CAIRO (AFP) - Egyptian riot police were deployed on Saturday near President Mohamed Morsi's palace as his administration rushed to contain fallout from footage of police beating a naked man during deadly overnight clashes.

In Cairo's Tahrir Square, protesters stoned Prime Minister Hisham Qandil's motorcade when the premier tried to visit after separate overnight clashes nearby between protesters and police, Egypt's Dream Live television channel reported.

A 23-year-old was shot dead in late Friday's clashes as police used birdshot and tear gas on demonstrators who targeted the northern Cairo palace in rallies against the Islamist president, a senior medical official said.

Ninety-one people were also injured, the official added, while the interior ministry reported 15 of its men wounded by birdshot.

Police said they made 20 arrests, and were filmed on television beating and dragging a naked man to an armoured vehicle, outraging Mr Morsi's critics, who compared the incident to practices under deposed president Hosni Mubarak.

The opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) is to meet later on Saturday to review its strategy after the clashes, which followed its call for people to take to the streets.

The NSF on Saturday called for Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim to resign over the beating of the naked man, which triggered an outpouring of condemnation on social media websites.

"The horrible and degrading images showing the central security officers and police beating and dragging a naked man near the presidential palace should lead to the interior minister's immediate resignation," NSF spokesman Khaled Dawoud said.

Mr Ibrahim has ordered a probe to "hold accountable" the policemen who beat the man, his office said. Prosecutors claim the man, a 50-year-old construction painter now held in a police hospital, was found carrying petrol bombs.

The presidency said it "was pained by the shocking footage of some policemen treating a protester in a manner that does not accord with human dignity and human rights." A statement added that it would follow the interior ministry's investigation of what it called an "isolated act."

There was no sign of any protesters on Saturday, and debris-littered streets around the presidential palace reopened to traffic.

The smell of tear gas lingered near the palace, its outer wall scrawled with graffiti including "Topple the regime" and "Freedom." In iconic Tahrir Square, protesters threw stones and bottles at Mr Qandil's motorcade in the morning, Dream Live television said.

The premier said in a statement that he was "confronted by youths and troublemakers" and he "preferred to avoid a confrontation between them and security personnel".

The presidency said security forces would deal with violent protests with "utmost decisiveness" and that it would hold opposition groups found to have incited the clashes "politically accountable."

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