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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Egypt: Friday Islamist protests’ death toll has risen to 5, while violent clashes continue in Al-Azhar University

Clashes erupted during the pro-Muslim Brotherhood's protests
in Egypt
(Image: Ahram Online)
Friday Islamist protests’ death toll has risen to 5, stated Egypt’s Ministry of Health on Saturday. Clashes left dead protesters in Cairo, Minya (Upper Egypt), Damietta (Nile Delta) and Aswan. 56 people were reported injured as a result of the violent clashes erupted between Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters, local residents and security forces on Friday, 27 December, in Cairo and many other Egyptian cities as well.

Egypt’s interim government has officially declared Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist organization”, banned all its activities and ordered to freeze all its financial assets and forbid the NGOs affiliated with the prominent Islamist group. Ministry of Interior has declared that any participation in Muslim Brotherhood’s activities including protests and rallies on their behalf could be punished by 5-years prison term.


Despite this Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters and Alliance in Support of Legitimacy united many Islamist groups and organizations declared its willingness to continue peaceful protests in order to express their demands to the government and to deliver their position. Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters strongly condemned the decision of Egypt’s current military backed government to declare Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization and denied their possible links to the terrorist groups in Egypt and outside it.

Clashes and fire during the clashes at Al-Azhar University
(Image: AFP)
Alliance for Support of Legitimacy has called for the massive rallies in supports of the activities of the Islamist groups and against the decision to ban it. Friday, 27 December, has witnessed one of the most numerous demonstrations of Muslim Brotherhood’s loyalists nationwide during the latest weeks. Rallies of Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters have been held in Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Suez, Port Said, Damietta, Aswan, Sohag, Fayoum, Beni-Suef and many others.

Violent clashes erupted later between the protesters, local residents and security forces arrived on the scene to disperse the crowds. Protesters have allegedly torched several police vehicles; they have been also throwing stones, rocks, Molotov cocktails. Police has fired tear gas and birdshots as well, as Ministry of Health stated most of the injuries have been caused by the birdshots.

265 people, most of them members of Muslim Brotherhood, have been arrested all across Egypt during the Friday protests.

Meanwhile huge students’ protests also continue in Cairo on the campus of Al-Azhar University. Students supporting Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohamed Morsy have been protesting during the week. Clashes erupted between them and security forces of Friday while the students protested to commemorate their slain colleague killed during the Thursday’s clashes. The clashes continued on Saturday as well, when some Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters have allegedly blocked the entrances to the university’s campuses and prevented students from entering on the day of the final exams started in Egypt.

Clashes during the students' protests at Al-Azhar University
(Image: Reuters)
Police has fired tear gas in order to disperse the crowds as protesting students have been throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. Two building of the university were set on fire, so the exams have been delayed.

Police has dispersed the protests arresting 101 students for inciting violence and possessing the weapons and Molotov cocktails.

Student’s representative and spokesperson Aya Fathy though stated that students didn’t attempt to clash with security forces or other students and have been protesting peacefully. She said that police moved in to break up protesters and started to fire on them in order to disperse, what resulted in killing of one student, Khaled El-Hadad. She also accused police of setting ablaze the buildings of university and clashes with the students.


Thus Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters continue their protests across the country condemning the recent decision of the interim government to ban their activities and declare them a terrorist group. Despite the threat of serious penalties for supporting the group and participating in the rallies of Muslim Brotherhood its members and supporters vow to continue the peaceful demonstrations.