Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • Police arrest S. Korea ferry captain for negligence

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Video: Tensions remain high in Mariupol despite Geneva deal

    Read more

  • In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

Africa

Egypt's Islamists and secularists clash in Cairo

©

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-10-13

Supporters of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi clashed with secularists and liberals opposed to his regime in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday night, leaving more than 100 people injured, officials said.

Thousands of supporters and opponents of Egypt’s new Islamist president clashed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday in the first such violence since Mohammed Morsi took office more than three months ago, as liberal and secular activists erupted with anger accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of trying to take over the country.

The two sides hurled stones and chunks of concrete and beat each other for sticks for several hours, leaving more than 100 injured, according to the state news agency. Two buses used by the Brotherhood to bring in supporters were set aflame behind the Egyptian Museum, the repository of the country’s pharaonic antiquities, in scenes reminiscent of last year’s clashes between protesters against the regime of then-leader Hosni Mubarak and his backers.

The melee erupted between two competing rallies in Tahrir. One was by liberal and secular activists to criticize Morsi’s failure to achieve promises he had made for first 100 days in power, the other had been called by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

The clashes come as criticism among leftists, liberals and secularists against Morsi has been growing since he was inaugurated more than three months ago as Egypt’s first freely elected president. His opponents accuse Morsi, the Brotherhood and other Islamists of trying to impose their dominance and Islamize the state, including through the writing of a new constitution.

Some Egyptians are also frustrated that Morsi, a longtime Brotherhood figure, has not done more to resolve the multiple problems facing the country – from a faltering economy and fuel shortages to tenuous security and uncollected piles of garbage in the streets.

Morsi boasted earlier this week in a nationally televised speech that he had carried out much of what he had promised for his first 100 days, and his supporters say he needs time in the face of overwhelming difficulties inherited from Mubarak’s authoritarian and corruption-riddled rule.

One anti-Brotherhood protester in Tahrir, Abdullah Waleed, said he had voted for Morsi in this year’s election to prevent his opponent - a longtime Mubarak loyalist - from winning.

“Now I regret it because they are just two faces of the same coin,” Waleed said. “Morsi has done nothing for the revolution. I want to say I am so sorry for bringing in another repressive regime.”

Liberal and leftist groups had called Friday’s protest to demand accountability and more action from Morsi after his first 100 days in office. The liberals also want greater diversity on the panel tasked with writing Egypt’s new constitution, which is packed with Islamists, including Brotherhood members.

The Brotherhood called for a separate rally to denounce the acquittals earlier this week of 24 former senior figures from Mubarak’s regime who had been accused of organizing a deadly attack on protesters during last year’s Jan. 25-Feb.11 wave of protests that led to Mubarak’s ouster.

The Brotherhood rally was to call for judicial reforms and to support a move by Morsi on Thursday to remove the prosecutor-general, who has been widely criticized for preparing shoddy cases against Mubarak-era politicians and police. Buses organized by the Brotherhood had brought in supporters from the provinces for the rally.

But the secular camp accused the Brotherhood of holding the gathering to distract from their anti-Morsi protest.

The violence erupted when Morsi supporters stormed a stage set up by the rival camp, angered by chants they perceived as insults to the president. The Islamist backers smashed loudspeakers and tore the wooden stage down, witnesses said.

A melee ensued and more supporters of the liberal-secular rally began arriving at the square. Young men from both sides tore up chunks of concrete and paving stones to hurl, others hit each other with sticks. Gunshots were heard. Youths making V-for-victory signs with their hands set fire to two empty buses of the Brotherhood.

“My conclusion here is that Morsi is just the president of the Brotherhood, that’s all. We are back to square one,” since Mubarak’s fall, said Sayed al-Hawari, who carried a plank of wood as a shield against the volleys of stones.

A leftist protester, Rania Mohsen, said, “We are here against turning the state to a Brotherhood state .... We do not want to replace the old regime with a new like the old one.”

A Morsi supporter, in turn, accused the other camp of being “thugs” who chanted against the leader of the Brotherhood and harassed the Islamists during noon prayers in Tahrir.

“We have to give Morsi a chance,” 19-year-old Moez Naggar, said. “The more protests we have, the less we can expect from him.”

A schoolteacher who said he belongs to the Brotherhood expressed dismay over the violence, saying he was surprised by the other camp’s anger at Morsi. Sherif Mahmoud pointed to Morsi’s attempt to remove the prosecutor-general, who many across the ideological spectrum have said should be sacked.

“The prosecutor general is a corrupt man,” Mahmoud said. “The president is moving step by step.”

Around nightfall, fighting stopped as the Brotherhood supporters left the square in buses.
Rashad Bayoumi, deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, told The Associated Press that the scene around Tahrir Square “is something everyone is ashamed of.” He said Brotherhood members did not take part in the clashes and that the group was there simply to demand judicial independence.

“The good of the country must come before personal good,” he said. “The Brotherhood does not make decisions based on a few individual opinions, but every move is studied and understood in full first.”

“This is not our way,” he said, referring to the clashes that took place.

Morsi was in Egypt’s second largest city, Alexandria, where he pledged on Friday that former regime figures would be brought to justice despite Wednesday’s verdicts.

The 24 were acquitted of organizing the so-called “Camel Battle,” an incident on Feb. 2, 2011, when a crowd of Mubarak supporters – including assailants on horses and camels – attacked protesters holding a sit-in in Tahrir to demand his ouster. Two days of fighting ensued, leaving nearly a dozen dead.

“All of the segments of Egypt’s society were deprived of many rights” under Mubarak, Morsi told a crowd of supporters. “And the biggest right deprived of us was the right to freedom.”

Following the acquittals, Morsi on Thursday moved to dismiss the country’s Mubarak-appointed prosecutor general by moving him to the position of ambassador to the Vatican. However, the prosecutor, Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud, refused to step down and vowed to remain in his post, citing a law that protects the prosecutor general from being ousted by the president.

Many blame the prosecutor for frequent acquittals of police and Mubarak-era officials over the past year, saying he put together shoddy cases. Egyptians were also disappointed in what they saw as a weak verdict in the trial against Mubarak. He is serving a life sentence for failing to stop the killing of protesters last year, but prosecutors did not prove he ordered killings and he was cleared of corruption charges.

(AP)

Date created : 2012-10-12

  • EGYPT

    Hundreds march a year after Egypt Copt killings

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egypt's Morsi pardons 'Arab Spring' political prisoners

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Mixed reviews greet Morsi's first 100 days in office

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)