23 injured at media complex, Morsi loyalists remain defiant

Ahram Online, Saturday 3 Aug 2013

Third sit-in in Cairo launched as well as 3 massive marches calling for ousted president's reinstatement; earlier demonstration at media complex leaves 2 police injured

Supporters of Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi hold a large Egyptian national flag as chant slogans against Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi outside Rabaah al-Adawiya Mosque on Friday (Photo: AP)

Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and supporters staged fresh defiant rallies in Egypt following government orders to disband. Most demonstrations remained peaceful, except for clashes at Media Production City complex on Friday.

Egypt health ministry has announced 23 people injured in clashes at the Media Complex in the early hours of Saturday, state news agency MENA reported on Saturday.

According to the ministry, no one was killed in the clashes.

Two policemen have been injured by birdshot in clashes at the Media Production City (MPC) complex outside of Cairo, MENA reported Friday night.

The interior ministry announced the police had arrested 31 members of the Brotherhood, from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails, for "seeking to break into the media complex," MENA reported. The police have also seized two vehicles equipped with microphones.

The confrontations started when police fired teargas at a pro-Morsi march, which was approaching the media complex earlier on Friday. Police said in statement via Facebook that protesters were blocking traffic, adding that they intervened by using teargas.

Clashes resumed at the media complex between supporters of Morsi and police after a short break during which both camps stopped for the fast-breaking Muslim meal of Iftar at sunset.

The rally headed to the media complex, where most privately-owned Egyptian channels are based, to protest what they describe as media bias. The protesters chanted against media figures as well as against the police and army.

Several sit-ins organised by Islamist groups have been held at the media complex, located in the satellite city of 6 October, over the last year.

Prior to the 30 June anti-Morsi protests, the site was one of the first venues to be secured.

The longest sit-in besieging the complex started in December 2012 and lasted several weeks after Islamists condemned the non-Islamist media for "inciting violence" and "misleading the public."

The December sit-in followed a call by popular Salafist preacher Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail for a "purge" of Egyptian media.

Islamists protested at the Media Production City site again in March 2013, assaulting several media personalities while demonstrating against perceived "anti-Islamist bias" in Egypt's media.

The March protests were again supported by Abu-Ismail. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood distanced itself from the protests, although some supporters reportedly attended.

Abu-Ismail is currently under arrest, along with senior Muslim Brotherhood figures, while being investigating charges of inciting violence against opposition protesters.

Other protests went peaceful Friday

The march which headed to the media complex is one of a number of demonstrations organised by the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, Alexandria and other governorates on Friday to protest Morsi's ouster and threats by the interior ministry to disperse ongoing pro-Morsi sit-ins.

The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, an Islamist coalition supporting Morsi, announced Friday the beginning of a new sit-in in Al-Alf Maskan area in Cairo's Heliopolis district.

The new sit-in is the third held in Cairo in addition to that held by thousands at Nasr City’s Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque and at Al-Nahda Square in Giza.

In a statement on Monday, the military urged protesters not to go near military establishments and specifically not to approach the military intelligence building, saying that such actions could put protesters at risk.

The military intelligence building is located near the Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City district, where Morsi supporters have been staging a large sit-in since 28 June.

Three massive marches were also launched Friday night in Cairo by Morsi's loyalists.

The demonstrators marched to the police's National Security headquarters in Nasr City but could not reach the building due to barricades placed by security forces.

Two more marches in Cairo headed to the defence ministry in the Abbasiya neighbourhood and the Republican Guard headquarters in the Heliopolis district, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party said via Facebook.

At least 50 pro-Morsi protesters were killed at a Republican Guard headquarters demonstration on 8 July.

Morsi has been held incommunicado ever since his overthrow on 3 July, which was part of the armed forces' plan for Egypt following nationwide mass protests against the former elected president.

Since Morsi's ouster, tens of thousands of his supporters have been calling for his reinstatement by staging protests across the country.

Morsi's supporters and opponents have frequently faced off since his overthrow, leading to over 200 dead and hundreds injured in the past few weeks.   

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