Clashes between Egyptian police and protesters erupted for a third straight day yesterday as the official death toll from the violence that has spread across the country rose to 24.

Egypt's health ministry said 24 people died in the clashes, while morgue officials -- who had earlier put the death toll at 33 -- confirmed this.

"Eleven of the people died in unrelated circumstances, not in the ... clashes," said a morgue official.

Take cover: Egyptian protesters run on the third day of clashes with
security forces at Tahrir Square in Cairo. Fresh clashes erupted in Cairo
between police and protesters demanding the end of military rule. pic/afp

Hundreds were also injured during the protests that broke out in Cairo, Alexandria and the canal city of Suez.

Police used tear gas against the swelling crowds in Cairo's Tahrir Square -- the centre of the protest that brought down former president Hosni Mubarak in February. Protesters responded with rocks.

On Sunday, police and military forces used batons, tear gas and birdshot to clear the square of thousands of protesters demanding the ruling military cede power and return to barracks.

The clashes had an impact within Egypt's interim government, with culture minister Emad Abu Ghazi resigning in protest.

Meanwhile, Arab League chief Nabil al Arabi expressed his "grave concern" over the deadly clashes and called for calm. Arabi urged all political forces "to work for calm and return to the political process and move forward with the process of democratic change based on the principles of freedom, dignity and social justice on which the January 25 revolution was founded."