Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Clashes errupt outside Morsi's presidential palace

Clashes between Egypt’s security,  protesters intensify at presidential palace

Friday, 01 February 2013 

At least one was killed and 48 people were injured after clashes intensified on Friday between protesters and security forces in front of the presidential palace, according to al Arabiya’s correspondent in Cairo.

Egyptian security used water cannon and fired shots into the air as protesters threw petrol bombs and stones into the grounds of the presidential palace in Cairo.

A number of political factions reportedly withdrew from outside the presidential palace, according to Al Arabiya.   

Protesters threw petrol bombs at the headquarters of the British embassy in Cairo’s downtown area of Garden City, which is still witnessing intermittent violence over the past few days, reported Al Arabiya.

The clashes came amid rallies in several cities against Islamist President Mohamed Mursi following unrest that killed 56 people, mostly in Port Said, after 21 residents were sentenced to death over a football-related riot in 2012.

The night sky was lit by fireworks fired by protesters above the north Cairo palace, amid the crackle of gunshots in the air from the military's Republican guard from behind the palace walls.

Police, who had initially withdrawn inside the compound, then advanced on protesters using armored cars while firing tear gas.

Elsewhere, thousands of protesters took to the streets to protest against Mursi, whom they accuse of betraying the revolution that brought him to power last June.

Scores of protesters skirmished with riot police several hundred meters from Cairo's Tahrir Square, witnesses said, and two were wounded by birdshot fired by police.

Tahrir protesters called for a sit-in in front of the Shura council in Cairo, reported Al Arabiya. However, security forces attempted to prevent the protesters from marching towards the council, Al Arabiya’s correspondent said.

But the clash was far less intense than last week's deadly unrest which killed 56 people, most of them in Port Said, where violence erupted after 21 residents were sentenced to death over football-related violence a year ago.

Thousands of people protested in Port Said on Friday calling for Mursi's removal, unfazed by the military deployment in the canal city, and similar marches took place in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.


President Mohamed Mursi vowed security forces will “act with utmost decisiveness” to protect state buildings.

The presidency, in a statement posted on his Facebook page, also said it would hold “politically accountable” opposition groups behind the violence.

It said protesters had tried to break down the palace gates and scale its walls, and demanded that opposition groups denounce the violence and call on their followers to withdraw.

Meanwhile, the opposition National Salvation Front said on Friday that it condemns all kinds of violence, as it called for a meeting on Saturday to discuss the latest developments, reported Al Arabiya. 

The front blamed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood saying they are responsible for the recent developments.

*By Al-Arabiya & AFP

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