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Monday, October 7, 2013

Egypt: Violent clashes erupted in Cairo and nationwide amid the 6th October War anniversary celebrations

Clashes erupted between pro-Morsy protesters and their rivals
(Image: News Hour)
On Sunday Egypt has marked the 40th anniversary of its victory in 6th October war in 1973 when Israeli army was defeated and Sinai Peninsula occupied by Israel was recaptured by Egypt. 6th October War Anniversary is one of the most important state holidays for Egyptian widely celebrated and being also marked as Day of Egypt’s Armed Forces as well.

Great celebrations have been planned for the 40th anniversary of the 6th October victory in Egyptian capital and in other governorates as well with the big military parade and show in Cairo’s Tahrir Square where thousands of people have gathered to celebrate the holiday and to support Egypt’s army.

Though the situation was tense on the eve of the celebration with the rival marches of pro-Morsy and pro-military forces planned to be held in Cairo on this day. The security measures have been on the highest level before the celebration and during it with the additional military and security troops and vehicles deployed in the area and with the army blocking the roads to the main protests sites. Military helicopters have been also reported being patrolling the sites from above.

Celebrations in Cairo Tahrir Square
(Image: Today Online)
It’s also worth mentioning that Egypt’s Ministry of Interior has warned Egyptian citizens about the possible violence and called on people to remain peaceful and to avoid any aggression as it will be considered being against the state security and the special measures would be taken against those responsible for any clashes and disturbance of the peace and security.

The celebrations have started peacefully with Tahrir Square being strongly guarded by army and security forces. There were reportedly  only two entrances to the Square through which it was possible to get inside the Square. All other entrances and the neighboring streets have been blocked by army vehicles.

Security and armed forces have also blocked other neighborhoods and sites such as Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square in Nasr City which was the location of the strongest pro-Morsy sit-in after Egypt’s Islamist backed President Mohamed Morsy was ousted in July.

Egypt's riot police
There have been celebratory moods in Tahrir despite the feeling of the tight security, people have been chanting for the Armed Forces and expressing their support for Egypt’s Army and its Head Abdel Fattah El-Sissi. Patriotic songs have been heard during the celebrations, and thousands of people gathered in Tahrir Square have been safe inside.

But the situation became extremely tense as the pro-Morsy marches have started from different locations and neighborhoods in Cairo trying to approach Tahrir Square. Alliance in Support of Legitimacy, the recently founded group united several Islamist parties and groups including Muslim Brotherhood, has called for the massive protests of pro-Morsy forces on the eve of the celebrations and during them as well. The key demand of the group remains the same which is reinstatement of deposed President Mohamed Morsy and cancelling of the political roadmap issued by the Armed Forces after Morsy’s ouster.

Hundreds of pro-Morsy and pro-Muslim Brotehrhood demonstrators have been chanting against Armed Forces and its Head El-Sissi and demanding Mohamed Morsy to be reinstated as President. Clashes erupted between pro-Morsy protesters and their opponents, local residents of the districts and security forces trying to disperse the crowds.

Clashes in Cairo
(Image: AP)
The most violent clashes broke out in Giza’s Dokki district where police and security forces have been reportedly shooting tear gas, birdshots and live ammunition in the direction of the protesters in order to disperse them and drive them back. Protesters have been responding with throwing the rocks, stones and Molotov cocktails, there have been also some reports about using the weapons as well.

Violent clashes also broke out in other Egyptian governorates as well including Suez, Alexandria, Port Said, Ismailia, Assiut, Mahalla and others.

Egypt’s Ministry of Health has officially reported at least 50 people dead and more than 200 injured at the moment. Egypt’s police in its turn reported that nearly 423 suspects have been arrested in Cairo accused of their involvement in the clashes and inciting violence.