Armed assailants attacked protesters camping in Tahrir Square in the early hours of Tuesday morning, leaving 16 injured.
The attack comes just ahead of demonstrations planned to take place across Cairo to press for the cancellation or postponement of Egypt’s constitutional referendum set for Saturday.
The assailants entered the square from the Abdel-Moneim Riyad Street and Qasr Al Nil openings and proceeded to shoot protesters with pellet guns and throw Molotov cocktails at them.
According to physician Hassanein Abu El-Hasan, who works in a makeshift clinic in the square, the injuries included pellet bullet wounds in the arms and feet. One protester was also hit in the head.
Protesters have occupied Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the Egyptian revolution, since President Morsi’s controversial constitutional decree issued 22 November, in which he put his decisions above judicial review and sacked the prosecutor-general.
While the decree has been amended, the referendum, in which Egyptians will accept or reject the newly drafted constitution, is still scheduled for 15 December, much to the anger of the opposition who are highly unsatisifed with the final draft.
The Muslim Brotherhood has called for pro-constitution demonstrations in Nasr City, a densely populated area in northeast Cairo.
The opposition, meanwhile, has organised six marches across Cairo, which will head to the presidential palace in nearby Heliopolis.