32 injured in Alexandria clashes: Official

Ahram Online , Friday 21 Dec 2012

Health ministry announces that 32 people were injured during street battle between rival political camps following Islamist rally

Thirty-two people were injured in the clashes that broke out at Alexandria's Qaed Ibrahim Mosque on Friday, announced Ahmed Omar, the health ministry spokesperson.

Omar stated that all injured were transported to Rass El-Tin Hospital.

"The ministry provided 12 ambulances in front of Qaed Ibrahim Mosque for today's protests," he said.

Clashes erupted shortly after several thousand demonstrators gathered at Alexandria's Qaed Ibrahim Mosque Friday to "defend [Islamic] scholars and mosques," and to call for Sharia (Islamic law).

The rally, which was initially peaceful after Friday noon prayers, turned violent when clashes broke out between Islamist demonstrators and rival opposition group.

According to media reports, clashes seem to have been kicked off after opposition protesters picked a fight with one of the Islamist demonstrators.

Rounds of teargas were fired into the crowds, forcing people onto the Corniche near the mosque.

After two hours of street battles, the area surrounding the mosque was mostly cleared.

The protest comes after iconic Alexandria Sheikh Ahmed El-Mahalawy was held captive inside the mosque for 14 hours last Friday by worshippers angered by the overt Islamist rhetoric in his sermon.

El-Mahalawy demanded worshippers seek the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law) ahead of the referendum's first round, which was regarded as a call to vote 'Yes' for the constitution.

Over 20 people were injured last Friday in the ensuing confrontations and a few vehicles were set alight.

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