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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Egypt: Pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations turned violent nationwide

Egyptian pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters clashed with
security forces during Friday rallies
(Image: AFP)
Egyptian Islamists and Alliance for Support of Legitimacy calling for Mohamed Morsy’s reinstatement as Egypt’s President have called for the massive rallies to be held on Friday, 3 January, in order to protest the recent decisions of the military backed interim government and calling for boycotting of the upcoming national referendum on the amended Constitution.

Demonstrations have been held all over the country and started early on Friday. Police and security forces in their turn have been deployed in Cairo and other cities as well, blocking some important roads and sites of protests. Thus, Cairo Tahrir Square was blocked by security forces, Ak-Nahda and Rabaa Al-Adaweya Squares, two sites of Islamist sit-ins after Mohamed Morsy’s ouster in June 2013, have been blocked as well. Armored vehicles, tanks and additional troops have arrived in the city n order to maintain order and prevent possible clashes.

Despite heavy security measures violent clashes erupted between the pro-Morsy protesters, local residents and security forces. Violence erupted in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Ismailia, Fayoum, Minya and many other cities as well with the protesters clashing with the policemen and security forces, throwing stones and rocks, using Molotov cocktails and damaging several police and civil cars as well. There were reports that a bus and several cars in Cairo’s Nasr City have been damaged due to the clashes.

Clashes erupted in Egypt nationwide during Islamist protests
(Image: BBC)
Security forces used teargas and birdshots in order to disperse the crowds. Al-Azhar University students’, who continue their demonstrations during more than week, have been also taking part in Friday clashes, thus police has entered university campus and interfered there as well. Some protesters were throwing Molotov cocktails and shooting, they’ve also set on fire several university buildings.

Thus clashes and confrontations erupted in several districts of Cairo and in other Egyptian cities as well, but police managed to disperse them relatively fast.

Ministry of Health though reports about 11 people dead as a result for the violent clashes and dozens wounded. Representatives of Alliance of Support of Legitimacy and Muslim Brotherhood supporters claim there have been nearly 20 people dead.

Friday protests resulted in the violent clashes happened on the wave of Islamists rallies against the recent decision of Egypt’s military backed interim government to ban all the activities of Muslim Brotherhood and to declare the group a terrorist organization. Pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators have protested also against current interim government and demanding reinstatement of Mohamed Morsy as their legal and elected President. Alliance of Support of Legitimacy, which has called for the protests to be held, rejected also the recently amended Constitution and called for boycotting the referendum to be held on 14-15 January 2014.
Clashes erupted between protesters and secsurity forces in
(Image: Reuters)

Muslim Brotherhood’s members are facing massive security crackdown launched against the group by Egypt’s military since the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsy, who currently faces trial on several charges including inciting violence, prison break and international espionage. Many members of Muslim Brotherhood including the leading and prominent figures have been arrested and detained and also face trials.

After Muslim Brotherhood was officially declared a terrorist organization by Egypt’s government in December 2013, Interim Ministry has announced the punishments for the supporting and participating in the activities of the banned group. Thus taking part in the marches of the group pr spreading information about the Brotherhood should be punished with up to 5 years in prison. Despite these massive protests of Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters continue all over Egypt, with Friday showed unprecedented level of violence and confrontations during the Islamists protests since at least two months.

Egyptian police also reports it arrested more than 120 Muslim Brotherhood members nationwide during the Friday clashes.