Two dead in clashes on Brotherhood's 'tribute to martyrs' Friday

Ahram Online, Friday 13 Sep 2013

Thousands of Islamists protest across Egypt to commemorate 'martyrs' of violent dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins; clashes leave two dead in Alexandria and Beni Suef

A pro-Morsi protest march in Cairo on Friday 13 September (Photo: Freedom and Justice Party's Facebook page)

Protest marches organised by the Muslim Brotherhood on Friday took to the streets in Cairo and other cities to mark the one-month anniversary of the violent dispersal by the police of two pro-Morsi sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Nahda, which left 600 dead and more than 40 officers killed.

One man was shot dead and six others were wounded in Egypt’s second city Alexandria, the health ministry said.

Another man was killed and tens injured in clashes between Brotherhood supporters and opponents in Ezbat Tahrir in the Upper Egypt governorate of Beni Suef, according to Hamdy Mostafa, the director of Beni Suef's General Hospital.

The six injured in Alexandria were taken to two nearby hospitals for treatment after being hit by birdshots, the health ministry added.

The ministry also said that six were injured in Abu-Kebir in Sharqiya governorate, the birthplace of former President Mohamed Morsi, whose 3 July ouster by the army incensed Islamists and sparked a wave of unprecedented internal violence in the Egyptian republic's history.

Security forces have also launched a wave of arrests in an attempt to quell protests.  

"A large number" of Brotherhood supporters were apprehended in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura after clashes broke out between protestors and locals, which left several injured, according to state news agency MENA.

In the industrial city of Mahalla, 11 Brotherhood supporters were arrested for wielding sticks, gas masks, and the well-known logo bearing the four-finger "Rabaa" salute.

There were similar skirmishes in the northern province of Sharqiya.

In Cairo, two Brotherhood marches reached the outskirts of Rabaa El-Adawiya mosque and Ittihadeya Presidential palace in the early evening hours but were prevented from entering the areas by barbed wire manned by police and army soldiers.

“Loyalty to martyrs”

"We need to be loyal to the blood of the martyrs," Brotherhood figure Essam El-Erian, who is one of few prominent leaders still at large, said in a message broadcast Al Jazeera Mubashar Misr, a satellite channel widely seen as favouring the Islamist group.

"We won't surrender to the blunt force of the security state.”

Police and armed forces closed a number of squares and major streets to prevent protesters from getting through or occupying public spaces to stage sit-ins.

In Cairo, the Rabaa Al-Adawiya area in Nasr City district was blocked off, as was Mohandiseen's Gamat Al-Dowal Street and Sphinx Square.

All three locations have seen protests by supporters of Morsi in recent weeks.

Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the 2011 uprising, was also blocked off by security forces, and Cairo International Airport in the Heliopolis district saw an increased security presence, including army personnel.

Demonstrators chanted against the armed forces and called for the restoration of "legitimacy." Many of them held aloft pictures showing the yellow four-fingered symbol of the protest camp at Rabaa Al-Adawiya as well as Morsi posters.

"Tribute to martyrs" protests also took place in governorates and cities outside the capital, including Menoufiya and Gharbiya in the Nile Delta, and Assiut in Upper Egypt.

In Alexandria, on the Mediterranean coast, a verbal exchange erupted between protesters and supporters of the current government near Qaed Ibrahim Mosque before protesters retreated from the area, reportedly being chased away. Clashes later erupted on the Corniche sea-front road, and police fired teargas to disperse the protesters.

In Mahalla, Gharbiya, a march in support of Morsi, which began from Abdel-Hai Khalil mosque heading to Shon Square, was dispersed by civilians. After the clashes between the two groups, the police fired teargas, according to MENA.

There were also protests by supporters of the deposed president reported in Qalioubiya in the Nile Delta, in Suez and Port Said on the Suez Canal, and in Al-Arish in northern Sinai.

The total number of pro-Morsi demonstrators at various marches across the country is estimated to be in the thousands.

Several smaller marches in support of the army were also reported in Cairo.

Many clashes have erupted between Islamist protesters and their opponents since the ouster of Morsi amid nationwide protests against him.

Hundreds of top and middle level members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested by authorities in recent weeks and charged with inciting violence among other crimes.

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