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A female demonstrator was killed in clashes with Egyptian police during a protest in central Cairo today on the eve of the anniversary of the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak.
A health ministry spokesman said Shaima al-Sabbagh died of birdshot wounds, which fellow protesters said were fired by police to disperse the march.
Al-Sabbagh, who was said to be 34-years-old with a five-year-old son, was shot while she peacefully marched towards the Tahrir Square to lay a commemorative wreath of roses.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said al-Sabbagh's death was being investigated and vowed that 'whoever committed a mistake will be punished, whoever he may be.'
Socialist Popular Alliance Party activist Shaima al-Sabbagh (middle) was shot and died of birdshot wounds during clashes with Egyptian police during a protest in central Cairo today on the eve of the anniversary of the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak
Al-Sabbagh can be seen, right, hitting the ground as a fellow protester comes to her aide during the clashes
Al-Sabbagh, a member of the party, was hit in the head with birdshot, and was taken to a hospital where she was declared dead.
The interior ministry said it was investigating the death, and suggested Islamist 'infiltrators' were to blame.
The clash took place hours before state television aired a pre-recorded speech by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to mark the fourth anniversary of the uprising.
He said: 'I salute all our martyrs, from the beginning of January 25 (2011) until now.'
The speech appears to have been taped in the presidential palace before Sisi left for Saudi Arabia to offer his condolences over the death of King Abdullah.
Islamists called for protests tomorrow to revive what they say was the 'revolution' that overthrew Mubarak. It also briefly brought to power Islamist president Mohamed Morsi who was toppled by the then army chief Sisi in July 2013.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said al-Sabbagh's death was being investigated and vowed that 'whoever committed a mistake will be punished, whoever he may be'
Morsi's supporters often hold small rallies that police quickly disperse.
Yesterday an 18-year-old female protester was killed in clashes in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. Police had warned they would confront protests 'decisively.'
Authorities have cracked down on the Islamists since the military overthrew Morsi after a year in power, and hundreds have been killed in clashes.
Scores of policemen and soldiers have also been killed in militant attacks.
The crackdown has also extended to leftwing and secular dissidents who initially supported Morsi's overthrow but have since turned against the new authorities, accusing them of being authoritarian.
Today's central Cairo protest was organised by the Socialist Popular Alliance party.
Egyptian policemen detain a supporter of the People's Alliance Party during a demonstration in Cairo's Talaat Harb square, near Tahrir square
Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood movement leave as security forces arrive to disperse a demonstration on January 24, 2015 in the Cairo district of Heliopolis
Party member Adel el-Meligy said: 'The party decided to hold a symbolic protest to commemorate the anniversary of the January 25 revolution.'
Bird shot is designed to be used in shotgun shells and consist of spheres of metal, or bb's, that can be packed into a shell and which separate when fired.
It was originally made from lead, but is now made from steel, tungsten and other materials.
The amunintion was designed for shooting birds but it can injure larger animals. In 2006 American Vice-President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow hunter with it. His victim was not several injured.
Birdshot is used by law enforcement as a non-lethal alternative to shot gun pellets and is often used in riot and protest situations.
Police also replace the slugs with rubber bullets.
He said police fired tear gas, birdshot and arrested the party's secretary general and five other young members.
The 18-day anti-Mubarak revolt had been fuelled by police abuses and the corruption of the strongman's three decade rule, but the police have since regained popularity amid widespread yearning for stability.
Activists, including those who spearheaded the anti-Mubarak revolt, have accused Sisi of reviving aspects of the former autocrat's rule.
Sisi and his supporters deny such allegations, and point to his widespread popularity and support for a firm hand in dealing with protests, which are seen as damaging to an economic recovery.
The anniversary will be marked just days after a court ordered the release of Mubarak's two sons, Gamal and Alaa, pending a corruption retrial along with their father.
Another court had dismissed charges against Hosni Mubarak over the deaths of protesters.