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Seven Egyptian protesters have been killed in Cairo in overnight clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Police used tear gas to drive back protesters, some hurling rocks, who had blocked a main route in the capital.

The clashes came as senior US envoy William Burns visited Egypt, saying it had been given a “second chance” at democracy.

William Burns met interim leaders but was snubbed by rival groups, including Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Mohamed Morsi was ousted on July 3 in what many have said was a military coup. The army says it was fulfilling the demands of the people after mass anti-Morsi protests.

Monday’s battles erupted after hundreds of protesters, mostly members of Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood Islamist movement, blocked the Sixth of October bridge, a major route over the Nile and through the capital, and the nearby Ramses Square, a transport hub.

Police fired tear gas to try to break up the blockade. Protesters responded by throwing stones. Other clashes broke out in the Giza district, in the south-west.

The head of Egypt’s emergency services, Mohamed Sultan, said two people had died on or around the bridge and five in Giza.

State media quoted health ministry official Khaled al-Khatib as saying 261 people were injured in the clashes, which lasted into the early hours of Tuesday.

Khaled al-Khatib said 124 people were still in hospital.

Mohamed Sultan said security personnel were among the casualties.

Members of the Brotherhood said security forces had used live ammunition, and accused them of attacking a peaceful protest.

Seven Egyptian protesters have been killed in Cairo in overnight clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi

Seven Egyptian protesters have been killed in Cairo in overnight clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi

“We were praying. Suddenly there was shouting. We looked up and the police were on the bridge firing tear gas down on us,” protester Adel Asman told Reuters news agency.

State media later quoted officials as saying 401 people had been arrested for “provoking unrest”.

The latest clashes are the most violent since last week, when more than 50 Morsi supporters were killed in fighting with troops outside the Republican Guard compound, where they believe the former president is being held.

The interim government has since announced its transition plan. A panel is to be formed by next week to draw up amendments to the constitution and a timetable for new elections.

But the Brotherhood has said it will not join a transitional government.

Mohamed Morsi supporters are demanding his reinstatement and have been holding a round-the-clock vigil outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, in the east of the capital, and at Cairo University in Giza.

Large crowds were again gathered at the mosque on Monday as William Burns, the US deputy secretary of state, visited.

“Get out, Sisi,” some shouted, referring to the head of the armed forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who oversaw the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi.

William Burns met interim President Adly Mansour and Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi, as well as Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

He described the events of the last two weeks as a “second chance to realize the promise of the revolution” that ended the authoritarian presidency of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

William Burns called on the military to avoid “politically motivated arrests”, saying the US remained committed to an Egypt that was “stable, democratic, inclusive and tolerant”.

But he insisted the US had “not come to lecture anyone. We will not try to impose our model on Egypt.”

The envoy’s comments come amid what correspondents say is an increasing antipathy towards the US among Egyptians on both sides of the political divide.

The US has stopped short of calling the army intervention a coup – doing so would trigger a legal stop of the some $1.5 billion in the mostly military aid it sends to the country each year.

But it has called for Mohamed Morsi to be released. He is being held at an undisclosed location and is being investigated on charges including inciting violence. A number of Brotherhood members have been arrested and warrants have been issued for many more.

William Burns said he planned to meet religious and civilian leaders, the heads of political parties and business figures during his two-day visit.

But both the ultra-conservative Salafi al-Nour party and the Tamarod anti-Morsi protest movement turned down invitations to meet William Burns, while the Muslim Brotherhood also said it had no plans to see him.

“Such kind of visit doesn’t mean anything for us because we believe that America supported this military coup,” said Dina Zakaria, a member of the Brotherhood and its political wing the Freedom and Justice Party.

Islam Hammam, a Tamarod organizer, said the movement had turned down the invitation to talks with William Burns “because the United States did not stand with the Egyptian people from the beginning.”

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The US expresses its “disappointment” over China’s failure to hand over fugitive Edward Snowden.

After talks with senior Chinese officials, US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said Beijing’s actions undermined “trust” in bilateral ties.

China said Hong Kong – which allowed to Edward Snowden to leave Russia – had acted in accordance with the territory’s law.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has been accused of working with US intelligence bodies to help intercept users’ data.

Citing the latest secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden, The Guardian newspaper said Microsoft had worked with the FBI and the NSA to facilitate access to information.

The newspaper claimed Microsoft allowed the NSA to circumvent its system of email encryption.

Edward Snowden, 30, is believed to be currently staying at a Moscow airport

Edward Snowden, 30, is believed to be currently staying at a Moscow airport

It also said information had been made available through access to cloud storage service SkyDrive and chat service Skype.

In response, the company said in a statement: “Microsoft does not provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Skype or any Microsoft product.”

It added that it had provided customer data only in response to lawful government requests.

William Burns was speaking after the two-day talks with the Chinese officials on trade and cyber security in Washington.

“We were disappointed with how the authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong handled the Snowden case, which undermined our effort to build the trust needed to manage difficult issues,” he said.

In response, Chinese state councillor Yang Jiechi said Hong Kong’s actions were in accordance with its law.

“Its approach is beyond reproach,” Yang Jiechi added.

The row over Edward Snowden has strained relations between the US and China.

Washington wants to prosecute Edward Snowden over the leaking of thousands of classified US intelligence documents.

Edward Snowden, 30, is believed to be currently staying at a Moscow airport.

He has sent requests for political asylum to at least 21 countries, most of which have turned down his request.

However, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela have indicated they could take Edward Snowden in.