Hundreds of diehard supporters of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak clashed with his foes in central Cairo leaving dozens injured, a security official told AFP.
Mubarak loyalists had gathered outside the state television building in the city centre to mark the strongman's birthday on Wednesday — Mubarak turned 83 Wednesday — and to denounce calls for his prosecution.
They said he was a national symbol who deserved respect, sparking the fury of anti-Mubarak protesters who called for his execution for his role in the killing of anti-regime protesters, the official said.
Fighting erupted between the two camps who pelted each other with stones. Traffic was blocked during the bloody confrontations before the army stepped in to break up the crowd and restore calm, the official said.
Mubarak is currently under arrest at a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where he fled during the anti-regime protests that led to his overthrow on February 11.
The military rulers who took over after Mubarak quit would like to move him eventually to Tora prison in Cairo, where his sons Gamal and Alaa and several ex-regime officials are jailed.
Putting him on trial was a key demand of tens of thousands of protesters who staged mass demonstrations across Egypt.