Riot police and protesters throw stones at one another during clashes near Tahrir Square (photo: Reuters)
Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has called on the police to arrest provocateurs who attack security forces and public buildings with stones and Molotov cocktails during protests.
He made the comments during his first visit to the area around Tahrir Square that has been the site of ongoing skirmishes between police and protesters since President Morsi made his controversial constitutional declaration on 22 November.
Qandil called on security forces to undertake all necessary legal and security measures to arrest provocateurs and put them on trial.
This is the first time Qandil has called on the security forces to take firm action against those involved in the current clashes. “I understand how hard it is for the police to deal with provocateurs who target the safety of the nation while they are shielded by peaceful protesters,” he said.
State-owned Radio Masr on Thursday quoted a security source who denied President Morsi had asked the interior minister to disperse the ongoing Tahrir Square sit-in by force.
Violent clashes have taken place nationwide between pro- and anti-Muslim Brotherhood protesters since the president made his constitutional declaration on 22 November. Islam Fathi, a 15-year-old Muslim Brotherhood member, died during violence in Damanhour in the Nile Delta and Fathi Ghareeb of the Socialist Popular Alliance suffocated from excessive tear gas inhalation in Tahrir Square. Over 400 people have also been injured.
Salah Gabr 'Jika', 16, died after being shot in the head and chest by rubber bullets during protests marking the first anniversary of last year's Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes.