Brotherhood's big stink outside Cairo's Courts turns bloody

Published April 19th, 2013 - 08:32 GMT
Protests at Presidential Palace, Cairo (Image used for illustrative purposes)
Protests at Presidential Palace, Cairo (Image used for illustrative purposes)

Clashes broke out between Islamist protesters and unknown opponents near Cairo's High Court on Friday, leaving dozens injured.

Thousands of Islamist protesters were holding a rally before the High Court in downtown Cairo to demand the "purge of Egypt's judiciary" when clashes erupted.

It is still unclear how the clashes started. The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party's website accused members of 'Black Bloc,' a term used to describe masked men wearing black, of inciting the clashes.

The website also said they used live ammunition, teargas and birdshot against Islamist protesters. Some Islamist demonstrators on the field confirmed the story to Ahram Online.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Sultan, the head of the Egyptian Ambulance Organisation (affiliated to the health ministry), said four have been injured by birdshot.

Sultan later said that the injury toll reached 95 while no deaths have been reported so far.

One of the Muslim Brotherhood’s buses parked in the nearby Abdel-Moneim Riyadh was torched.

Live television footage also showed Islamists' opponents firing teargas canisters, around an hour before the police intervened to separate both sides.

Several Central Security Forces (CSF) vehicles were greeted by Islamist protesters upon their arrival before the High Court. Demonstrators soon called on their fellow colleagues to retreat from the site of the clashes to allow the police to target the "assaulters."

Other Islamist protesters were blaming the policemen for showing up late, asking them to come down hard on the "assailants" attacking their "peaceful" protest.

The podium of the protest announced the end of the demonstration by dusk, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-Language news website. By night, clashes kept re-erupting in Ramses Street and the nearby Abdel-Moneim Street.

'Avoid bloodshed'

The interior ministry, after hours of clashes, called on all political forces taking part in the clashes "not to resort to violence and avoid bloodshed and possible deaths."

"The ministry is doing its best to avoid an escalation of the matter ... in light of the ongoing tub-thumping which contravenes the traditions of the Egyptian society," the ministry said in a statement.

Ahram Online's reporter saw angry Islamist protesters catching an opponent and badly beating him in Ramses Street near the High Court after forming half a circle around him against a wall. A video also showed another violent assault with batons on another young man by Islamists near the Six of October Bridge.

Several accounts on social networks claim that Islamists caught by their opponents received the same treatment.

The sound of shotguns and tear gas was heard from their opponents' side near the Six of October Bridge and the Egyptian Museum. While the Islamists were mainly throwing stones, Ahram Online captured footage of two men on the Islamists side using firearms.

Thousands of Islamist protesters gathered earlier on Friday to demand the purging of state institutions, recovery of state funds and holding to account those responsible for the killing of protesters in the 2011 January revolution.

The protest, which was peaceful before the Islamists' unknown rivals appeared, had been called for by the Muslim Brotherhood and joined by other Islamist forces such as Al-Watan party, the Salafist Front Al-Asala Party, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail's Al-Raya Party, Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya's Building and Development Party, the Reform Party and the People's Party.

Islamists believe Egypt's judiciary is hindering the country's transition to democracy. They are also angry after several Hosni Mubarak-era officials were freed recently.

 


© Copyright Al-Ahram Publishing House

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