The Muslim Brotherhood has pointed finger at unknown assailants for Friday’s violence in the iconic Tahrir square after clashes erupted between its members and liberal protesters.
In a statement posted on its official website, the Brotherhood said that “thugs” wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan of the Islamist group’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) "committed these crimes", referring to the violent attacks against demonstrators.
"Other thugs could be seen coming from Mohamed Mahmoud Street to destroy a podium in Tahrir and make it seem as though it was the Brotherhood's responsibility," the statement read.
“A number of members arrested three of the thugs and handed them over to the Kasr El-Nil police station near the Square.”
Parties that initially planned Friday's protests to mark the end of president Mohamed Morsi's first 100-days, dubbing it "Accountability's Friday", had earlier accused the Brotherhood of intentionally planning parallel demonstrations to combat any Morsi critique.
In response, the Brotherhood stressed that it was their right to demonstrate in the square, arguing that their members were the first to be attacked on Friday. The statement said that upon entering Tahrir, Brotherhood members were met by insults and assaults and in return they only tried to defend themselves.
"Those who committed the crimes were seen bragging about them on television. We demand that security forces arrest these criminals and put them on trial with all the other thugs facing prosecution,” the group added.
“We call on all political forces to put the country's interest above all personal and party interests and to hold the love for their country higher than the hate of the Brotherhood.”
The Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, said the decision to demonstrate on Friday came in response to the "shocking" court verdict acquitting all those accused in the trial of the deadly crackdown on protesters during the 25 January uprising, known as the Battle of the Camel.
Friday's protests, which turned into violent clashes between Morsi supporters and protesters, were initially called for by leftists and liberals to protest against what they perceive Morsi’s failure to deliver on his promises during his first 100 days in office.
The Muslim Brotherhood issued an 11th hour call upon their supporters to go to the square on the same day, ostensibly to protest the Battle of the Camel court’s ruling. They also called for demonstrations to support Morsi's decision to replace the General Prosecutor following the verdict.
Morsi had made a failed attempt on Thursday to replace Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud following the acquittal by the Cairo Criminal Court of all 24 defendants, including top Mubarak regime officials
The president's decision was however rejected by Mahmoud who argued that such a decision was not within Morsi’s mandate, as it violated judicial independence and the constitutional principle of the separation of powers.