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Friday street battles in Cairo leave dozens injured after Islamist protest

Dozens injured as Islamist protesters clash with unknown rivals near Egypt's High Court in Cairo; firearms used and at least 95 injured

Ahram Online, Friday 19 Apr 2013
An anti-Mursi protester throws a Molotov cocktail at Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo, April 19, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 8634

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 confrontations erupted.

Mohamed Sultan, the head of the Egyptian Ambulance Organisation (affiliated to the health ministry), stated that the injury toll reached at least 95 while no deaths have been reported so far.

During the melee, an Ahram Online reporter saw angry Islamist protesters catching an opponent and badly beating him in Ramses Street near the High Court after cornering him against a wall.

Several online videos showed other violent assaults by Islamists on young men. Accounts on social networks claim that Islamists caught by their opponents received the same treatment.

Meanwhile, one of the Muslim Brotherhood's buses parked in the nearby Abdel-Moneim Riyadh was torched.

It is unclear how the clashes started.

Through its official website, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party accused members of 'Black Bloc,' a term used to describe masked men wearing black, of inciting the violence.

The Brotherhood said attackers used live ammunition, teargas and birdshot against Islamist protesters.

A video shot by Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news portal indeed showed some of the Islamists' opponents using firearms.

And while the Islamists were mainly throwing stones, Ahram Online captured footage of two men on their side using firearms as well.

Live television footage also showed Islamists' rivals 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." Some complied while others insisted on confronting their opponents near the Egyptian Museum.

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

The podium of the Islamist protest announced the end of the demonstration by dusk, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-Language news website.

Clashes kept re-erupting for hours at night in Ramses Street and the nearby Abdel-Moneim Street as police sought to clear the area.

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 posted on its official Facebook page.

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 killing 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 were also provoked by the release of several Hosni Mubarak-era officials of late. 

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Frustrated Egyptian
20-04-2013 12:48pm
Egyptians who brought the revolution weren't driven by a religion or ideology
The MBH should not forget that the students in Tahrir Square who brought us the revolution in Egypt weren't driven by a religion or an ideology. They were driven by their aspirations to be able to have jobs, education, security and a future. Hence MBH should concentrate on Egyptian people's needs in stade marching to replace Egypt's judiciary with MBH tailored judiciary that obay their orders
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20-04-2013 09:57am
The Government Must Act On The Provocateurs
The voice of the voiceless sounds of double standard. Dictators will allow own people to do anything even committing crimes but those who are against them cannot even have peaceful demo. The report above stated that the demonstration was peaceful before arrival of the opposition supporters. Why must they disturb and provoke the Islamist protest?. All opposition forces had enjoyed street protests and now they will not allow the Islamist to do so. This the voice of the ghost of Mubarak Regime.
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20-04-2013 12:13am
The purgers shall be purged
Egypt will never progress as long as we have such people in power. They've removed a dictator, and then installed another. They took a corrupt constitution and replaced it with a more corrupt constitution. Egypt is deteriorating by the day. And now they're calling the judiciary corrupt? This is an obvious continuation of the attempt to drain all the power that they can in order to ensure another reign of dictatorship. I can see this ending two ways, either a military coup, or a bloody revolution. The country is a ticking time bomb.
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Gamal Abdul Nasser
19-04-2013 10:28pm
corrupt and criminal
A judiciary that remained utterly silent during 30 years of Mubarak's despotism is more than corrupt; it is criminal. What else can be said of a justice system that has failed to indict a single killer of those who murdered more than a thousand Egyptians since the start of the revolution.
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Anwar Sadat
19-04-2013 07:08pm
thugs of the former regime
"Black Bloc" are thugs associated with the former regime. They are in the business of terrorizing the Egyptian people in order to reinstate the former regime.
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19-04-2013 06:46pm
'purge' is just their propaganda double-think name for Ikhwan nepotism
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Suad Husni
19-04-2013 10:28pm
You are wrong
You are wrong. Tahani al Gabali of the discredited Constitutional Court told the New York times " We annuled the parliamentary elections in order to prevent the Islamists from ruling Egypt,"

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