Teargas fired at MOD protesters; April 6 withdraws to 'prevent bloodshed'

Ahram Online, Friday 4 May 2012

Protesters pushed back to Abbasiya square as gunshots are heard and tear gas fired at crowds in Ministry of Defence area; April 6 Movement leave clashes and call on demonstrators to exit scene

More gunshots have been heard and tear gas fired at protesters who were pushed back from outside of the Ministry of Defence to Abbasiya square, as clashes between military police and protesters escalate. 

April 6 Youth Movement, one of the groups that were participating in the "Final Friday" marches to the military headquarters, announced they were withdrawing from the area. 

The official spokesperson of the movement, Mahmoud Afifi, stated on Twitter at 4:30pm that April 6 were leaving "to prevent further bloodshed" and asked all the other protesters to exit the scene as well. 

Al-Hayat 2 Satellite TV showed footage of long range tear gas reportedly being fired by military police into crowds, which cleared the week-long sit-in and pushed the protesters back to the nearby square. 

Egyptian Democracy Now correspondent Sharif Kouddous, also in the field, tweeted that he could hear gunfire and could see a military helicopter flying overhead which the "crowd curse at". 

Al-Jazeera Arabic TV screened footage showing protesters lighting fires to counteract the effects of the tear gas. The Ministry of Health announced that it has sent tens of ambulances to the defence ministry area, to cope with the mounting injuries. 

Egypt's military police began firing water cannons on protesters at 3:30pm Friday, after thousands-strong marches reached the army headquarters, in protest of the ruling military council. Protesters responded with stones as clashes broke out. 

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