Clashes erupt as Egyptian security forces disperse Islamist protests across the country

Egyptian security forces have fired tear gas to disperse dozens of Islamist demonstrators marching across the country to demand the release of detained student protesters.

In the canal city of Suez on Friday, protesters set a police car ablaze before residents chased them away, a local security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to brief reporters.

The demonstrators gathered despite heavy rains and unprecedented low temperatures in Egypt to support the students, arrested by authorities in recent weeks. With the start of the academic year, Egyptian universities have been at the heart of the political turmoil gripping the country since a popularly-backed coup toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July. Two students died in November during clashes with security forces.