Interior ministry issues strong-worded statement after Alexandria clashes
Ahram Online, Friday 21 Dec 2012
Egypt's interior ministry condemns Friday protest and subsequent clashes, stating that it warned organisers of potential ramifications


The Ministry of Interior issued a strong-worded statement in the wake of clashes at Alexandria's Qaed Ibrahim Mosque, condemning the organisers of the protest that turned violent shortly after noon prayers.

"In previous statements the ministry has warned of the ramifications of holding protests in Alexandria on Friday, 21 [December]," reads the statement, which was posted on its official website.

"And in light of what's happening in the vicinity of the Qaed Ibrahim Mosque in Alexandria, which resulted in many injures among citizens and riot police, who formed a human shield to separate the two rival sides, the interior minister ordered security leaders to deal with rioters with all force and strictness."

Clashes erupted shortly after several thousand demonstrators gathered at Alexandria's Qaed Ibrahim Mosque Friday to "defend [Islamic] scholars and mosques," and to call for Sharia (Islamic law).

The rally, which was initially peaceful after Friday noon prayers, turned violent when clashes broke out between Islamist demonstrators and rival opposition group.

According to media reports, clashes seem to have been kicked off after opposition protesters picked a fight with one of the Islamist demonstrators.

Rounds of teargas were fired into the crowds, forcing people onto the Corniche near the mosque.

After two hours of street battles, the area surrounding the mosque has mostly been cleared.

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