An Egyptian protester directs his fellow marchers away from the army security barrier blocking the road leading to the Ministry of Defence in Cairo. Assailants attacked demonstrators gathered outside the Defence Ministry in Egypt's capital with rocks and firebombs, killing one and wounding scores of others.

Cairo - One person was killed and 119 others were injured in overnight clashes between Salafist protesters and residents of a Cairo neighbourhood, the Egyptian Health Ministry said on Sunday.

Dozens of supporters of Hazem Abu Ismail marched on Saturday night towards the Abbassiya district to protest against the electoral commission's decision to bar the popular hardline Islamist from contesting next month's presidential election.

They were attacked by Abbassiya residents angry at the protesters, according to the official MENA news agency.

The clashes lasted until dawn, with both sides throwing rocks and petrol bombs and firing buckshot, a member of the security forces said.

Military police stationed in front of the nearby defence ministry did not intervene.

The health ministry said one person was killed and 119 injured, most of them lightly.

Protests in Egypt since the popular uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak last year have often turned violent, with thugs working for the country's military leadership frequently blamed.

The electoral commission on April 14 barred 10 candidates, including the Muslim Brotherhood's Khairat El-Shater and the former president's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, from standing in the poll to choose Mubarak's successor.

Abu Ismail's nomination was rejected because his mother had taken joint US citizenship, but many of his supporters believe he was the victim of a “plot” by the authorities.

The first round of the presidential election is scheduled for May 23 and 24. The interim military leadership has promised to hand power to an elected civilian president by the end of June. - Sapa-AFP