Brotherhood acknowledges members participated in Friday clashes

Ahram Online, Hatem Maher, Wednesday 17 Oct 2012

After repeatedly denying involvement in Friday's clashes in Tahrir Square, Muslim Brotherhood admits youth members took part in violence that left dozens injured

Mahmoud Ghozlan
Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The Muslim Brotherhood has admitted for the first time that its members took part in Friday's clashes in Tahrir Square.

The group had earlier denied its members were involved in clashes with liberal and leftist forces who were protesting the "domination" of the Constituent Assembly by Islamists.

Eyewitnesses had claimed Brotherhood supporters attacked peaceful demonstrators and destroyed their podiums in order to stop chants against President Morsi, who was a long-time member of the group.

For several days after the clashes, which left over 150 people injured, the Brotherhood blamed the violence on “thugs” and "agents of the dismantled state security."

However, the group's spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan on Wednesday told the Al-Ahram Arabic news website that some “hasty Brotherhood youth” were involved in the clashes.

“The group was not going to take part in the demonstration," he explained, "but had a change of heart after learning that those going to protest shared some of our aims: protesting against the (Battle of the Camel) verdict that acquitted the killers of revolutionaries.

“We announced that we would participate in the protest on Friday starting at 4pm, but the clashes happened before that," he said.

Several opposition political groups have called for another protest in Tahrir Square on Friday, which they have called 'Egypt for all Egyptians', to call for social justice and to oppose “the Brotherhood’s domination of the Constituent Assembly.”

In recent months critics have accused the Brotherhood of wielding undue influence over the president.

The group has been particularly criticised for leaving little room for the opposition to participate in writing the new constitution.

In an apparent attempt to quell liberal and leftist anger, Ghozlan said: "In future there will be no need for the Brotherhood to take part in protests that feature other political forces. We will avoid these protests so as not to tarnish the image of the January 25 Revolution.”

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