VIDEO: Mass protests reach Egypt's presidential palace, police withdraw

Zeinab El Gundy, Tuesday 4 Dec 2012

Central Security Forces withdraw from the mass protests into the presidential palace in Heliopolis

Presidential Palace
Egyptian protesters carry national flags and chant anti Muslim Brotherhood slogans during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

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Security forces have withdrawn from the perimeter outside the presidential palace after receiving orders to go inside the palace.

Some protesters cheered the Central Security Forces (CSF) units after the end of the clashes, according to some news reports. The ministry of interior already issued an official statement declaring that President Morsi left the presidential palace after finishing a couple of meetings on Tuesday. It also added that the security forces practiced self-restraint after the protesters breached the barbed wire cordons around the palace.  

A planned protest at the presidential palace was met with tear gas fired by security forces earlier on Tuesday evening, after protesters, chanting loudly against the constitutional declaration and the draft constitution, tried to remove the barbed wire security barriers, with others launching fireworks. The Central Security Forces responded by drumming their armour with sticks and firing sound bombs and tear gas grenades.

Later, the security forces retired to around one kilometre away, with protesters chanting, "The people want to topple the regime," and "We will not leave, he will leave." 

According to Al-Arabiya news network's account on Twitter, ten people were injured in the clashes between protesters and police forces.

Thousands of protesters had gathered in front of the presidential palace on Tuesday afternoon, chanting against the draft constitution and Constituent Assembly and holding banners saying "We reject splitting the country in two using religion," and "We reject the constitutional declaration."

Rallies made up of thousands of protesters marched from the mosques of Al-Nour and Rabaa Al-Adawaiya in Abbassiya and Nasr City respectively, heading to the presidential palace a few kilometres away.

Protesters chanted: "To those who wonder what the solution is, the Brotherhood has to be dissolved," and "Get out of your houses and come tell Morsi to leave."

Another rally from Ain Shams University merged with the Rabaa Al-Adawaiya rally.

Slogans chanted by the protesters included "Freedom, freedom," "Revolution until victory," and "Down with the Supreme Guide [of the Muslim Brotherhood]" while waving Egyptian flags. Protesters also waved flags displaying the faces of slain protesters, including Sheikh Emad Effat who died during clashes with the military police and protesters during the December 2011 sit-in, and Siyad Belal, a Salafist activist who was tortured to death in 2010 under former president's Mubarak's rule.

Protesters also held banners saying: "No to the constitution" in reference to the draft constitution, which will be subject to a referendum on 15 December.

Tight security measures were taken in Heliopolis in the morning. "They are even tighter than in the days of Mubarak when it comes to the fences. The security forces have already put up barriers in order to ensure that the rallies of Al-Nour Mosque and Rabaa Al-Adawaiya Mosque do not meet," Mahmoud Salem, a leading member of the Free Egyptians Party, told Ahram Online.

Tuesday evening also witnessed protests in Alexandria, Mansoura , Mahalla, Hurghada, Luxor, Assiut, Minya and Ismailia against the draft constitution and constitutional declaration. According to activists, thousands of protesters took the street in Alexandria in huge rallies.


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