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Friday, December 21, 2012

Egypt: Alexandria Islamist rally turned violent

Clashes erupted during the Islamist rally in Alexandria

Egyptian Islamist groups have been planning the marches on 21 December 2012 in Alexandria in attempt to support the Constitutional draft and demand the implementation of Sharia in Egypt and “to defend mosques and scholars”.

On the eve of the second stage of the Constitutional referendum which is expected to be held on 22 December 2012 in 17 Egyptian governorates Egypt’s Islamist demonstrators have gathered on Friday in front of Alexandrian Qaed Ibrahim’s Mosque. Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing Freedom and Justice Party, Salafist Nour Party, the Salafist Calling and other prominent Islamist parties and groups have announced about their participation in the Friday’s rally.

The rally has started after Friday’s noon prayers when thousands of Islamists and supporters of Mohamed Morsy and the Constitutional draft have gathered in front of the Qaed Ibrahim Mosque. The people demanded the implementation of the “God’s Law” in the country and declared they are ready to sacrifice their lives for that.

The demonstration was peaceful, but then suddenly it turned violent after some Islamist supporters and the rival anti-Morsy protesters have reportedly clashed and started the fight. The violent clashes erupted, with the people throwing stones at each other and fighting.

The car set ablaze during the Islamist rally's clashes in Alexandria
Egypt’s Central Security Forces have been heavily deployed in the neighborhood and tried to separate the rivals firing tear gas and forming the cordons and the human shield.

Egypt’s Health Ministry confirmed there were injured people from the both sides and also among the CSF, stating that the numbers of injured reached 32 people.

Meanwhile Egypt’s Interior Ministry has issued an official statement condemning the violence which broke up during the marches and called for peaceful demonstrations.

The clashes in Alexandria erupted during the protests ahead of the second stage of the controversial Constitutional referendum, planned to be held on Saturday, 22 December, in 17 Egyptian governorates. The first stage of referendum took place in Cairo, Alexandria and 8 other governorates on 15 December 2012. The voters’ turnout was nearly 33% and the “Yes”-vote is leading with a small gap.

Egypt's CSF trying to separate the fighting protesters
It’s also worth mentioning that Egypt’s oppositional forces led by the National Salvation Front refuses to hold any talks with the authorities and with the Constituent Assembly and demand the referendum to be postponed as the draft of the Constitution is undemocratic and doesn’t represent all the Egyptians. The divisions within the Egyptian society are very obvious ahead of the historical Constitutional referendum.