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Clashes kill almost 50 on anniversary of Egypt's revolution

At least 29 people died when security forces and anti-government protestors clashed in Egypt.

CAIRO - Almost 50 people died in violent clashes in Egypt Saturday, as the conflict-torn country marked the third anniversary of the uprising that overthrew autocratic President Hosni Mubarak. 

The country's health ministry said at least 247 people were wounded and 49 killed in rival demonstrations between opponents and supporters of Egypt's military-led government. 

Security forces broke up several protests pitting Islamist and secular activists against each other. 

Saturday's clashes follow a common pattern of violence that has taken over the country since Mubarak's ouster -- one that was stoked in July, when the army deposed Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi. 

Many Egyptians, however, came out in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of the uprising -- demanding that army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi run for president in the country's upcoming elections later this year. 

"El-Sissi saved the nation. It was up in the air like this helicopter and he carried it to safety," Mervat Khalifa, 62, told The Associated Press. 

Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi carry an injured demonstrator who was shot during clashes in Cairo, Jan. 25, 2014.

The tone of the rally was markedly anti-Islamist. Soldiers guarding the Square joined demonstrators in chanting: "The people want the execution of the Brotherhood," the news agency reported.

Morsi's supporters also rallied, defying the police crackdown.

"Anger is bigger than all. Repression sparks revolutions. The burning of Egypt won't last," a statement issued by a Brotherhood-led coalition said, according to the AP. The group has been declared a "terrorist organization" in Egypt. 

The demonstrations took place just a day after four bombs targeting police killed six people around Cairo. Another 15 people were killed in clashes around the country Friday. 

On Saturday, the clashes in an eastern Cairo suburb were fiercest. Protesters told the AP security personnel and snipers used live rounds against demonstrators, who retaliated by throwing gasoline bombs, injuring many. 

In the face of the crackdown, however, the Brotherhood has remained defiant, vowing in a statement on Saturday not to leave the streets. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.