6 dead, 450 injured in clashes at Egypt's presidential palace

Mostafa Ali, Ahram Online, Thursday 6 Dec 2012

Deadly confrontations between pro- and anti-Morsi protesters, which erupted after the president's supporters attacked a sit-in outside the Ittihadiya palace, polarise a divided nation

Wounded protester treated after clashes between supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi outside presidential palace, Cairo, Egypt, Thursday (Photo: AP)

Clashes between supporters of President Mohamed Morsi and his opponents which started on Wednesday night have left six dead and 450 injured, according to the health ministry.

Hospitals in the Heliopolis area continued to receive casualties of gunshots and rock throwing into the early hours of Thursday morning.

El-Hosseini Abul-Deif, a journalist at El-Fagr newspaper, is one of those who were shot and was critically injured during the clashes and doctors at Zahraa Hospital declared him clinically dead on Thursday morning.

The executive board of the Journalists' Syndicate has blamed the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood for the attack on El-Hosseini and also held President Morsi responsible for his failure to ensure public security.

Meanwhile, a total of six presidential advisers have resigned from their posts to protest President Morsi's recent decrees and what they said was his inability to resolve the current political crisis.

The president's chief of staff, Refaa Tahtawi, told reporters on Thursday morning that President Morsi would address the nation sometime later in the day.

"There will be no return to the past, yet, there will be moves to the future," Tahtawi said without giving details on what measures the president intends to announce to deal with the crisis.

Meanwhile, Sobhi Saleh, a leading Brotherhood figure and former MP, who was attacked by anti-Morsi protesters in Alexandria on Wednesday night, told reporters that "revolutionaries should be ashamed of themselves because the Brotherhood are the most noble people."

Late on Wednesday night, Zaghloul El-Balshi, the newly appointed head of the election commission, which is set to organise the upcoming referendum on the constitution set for 15 December, resigned from his post saying that he refuses to monitor "a vote that spilled Egyptian's blood."

According to the official state news agency, MENA, the Egyptian presidential guard deployed tanks on Thursday morning at the presidential palace, where the clashes have been taking place since Wednesday afternoon, to maintain order.

At 4pm on Wednesday, hundreds of supporters of President Morsi attacked anti-Morsi protesters with truncheons in an attempt to disperse a peaceful protest against the recently issued constitutional declaration, which gives the president the power to override the country's judiciary.

Two hours later, anti-Morsi protesters descended on the palace to protest the attacks before escalations ensued.

Later in the night, anti-Morsi protesters, angered at the attack on the sit-in at the presidential palace, torched two Brotherhood headquarters in Ismailia and Sharqiya governorate.

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