Live updates 2: Millions on streets for anti-Morsi protests; 4 dead in Upper Egypt

Hazel Haddon, Nada Hussein Rashwan, Randa Ali, Sherif Tarek, Salma Shukrallah, Bassem Abo El-Abbas, Osman El-Sharnoubi , Sunday 30 Jun 2013

Four killed in clashes in Upper Egypt while Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo is attacked; huge demonstrations in Cairo at presidential palace and Tahrir Square remain peaceful

Tahrir Square
Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi gather during a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Cairo June 30, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

00:20 That's all for tonight. Today saw unprecedented numbers take to the streets all over Egypt, calling for Morsi to resign. It's hard to estimate numbers, but it's clear that 30 June has been bigger than anyone predicted.

There was deadly violence in Beni Suef and Assiut, and there are ongoing clashes at the Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo, as we close. There were also 30 reported cases of sexual harassment in Tahrir Square - although none reported at Ittihadiya or at the ongoing pro-Morsi demonstration at Rabaa Al-Adawiya.

00:15 There are reports of ongoing clashes at the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters in Mokattam, Cairo, which was earlier attacked by protesters throwing Molotov cocktails. There seem to be clashes between those inside the building and those attacking it, with birdshot and possibly live ammunition. There are a number of injuries reported, but all unconfirmed so far by official sources.

An Egyptian protester attacks Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Muqattam district in Cairo, Sunday, June 30, 2013. (AP)

Crowds have thinned a bit but remain defiant and optimistic at the presidential palace, tooting their horns and calling for the president's resignation reports Ahram Online's Bel Trew. There seems to be strong pro-military sentiment at the palace, most of the people interviewed by Ahram Online were keen for some sort of intervention although they were unsure who should replace the president.

"We didn't expect anything from him but what he did was far worse, he made lost of promises but didn't fulfill any," says Om Maha, 53, housewife referring to the Brotherhood's Nahda (renaissance) project, that was centre peice to Morsi's presidential campaign but was largely dropped. Om Maha added that she didn't like any of the presidential candidates who ran last year such as Amr Moussa and Mohamed ElBaradei, "I don't think any of them are fit for the position, it needs to be someone outside of any existing political movemnet.

"The elections were a contract between the people and the president, he broke the rules and put himself first," says Ahmed Nagah, a 47-year-old English teacher. "I voted for Amr Moussa in the first elections only," Nagah added saying he didn't bother in the second round as he didn't want Ahmed Shafiq or Morsi.

Meanwhile further into the crowds Engineer Abdel-Rehim Kamal, 43, voicing a popular sentiment expressed both on Tahrir Square and at the palace, slammed Morsi for being "the same as [ousted leader] Mubarak."

Back on Tahrir Square, a little earlier, Fikra Mohamed, 52 director of a company showed Ahram Online his protest art: a tree of notices listing the "achievements, mistakes and economic failures," of the president during his first year in power. 

"I voted for Morsi and I think I got fooled. I will not leave until Morsi steps down, my sons are with me - one of them has an exam - but he will no do his exam until Morsi resigns. This is not a second revolution, it is a continuation of the first one, we still haven't finished that battle yet."

"Egyptians don't have their basic needs, we have a massive problem of unemployment particularly within the youth, killing continues under his rule, then there is the breakdown of the state like train accidents and electricity outage," says Mohamed Ramadan Badawy, who had travelled from the Southern governorate of Qena to join Tahrir with a delegation of people from Upper Egypt. "Egyptian poverty is on the rise, to the point where people are eating from the rubbish."

00:00 The president's spokesman has just denied that Hatem Bagato, minister of legal and parliamentary affairs, will submit his resignation, as was reported by Ahram Arabic earlier this evening. 

23:55 The 30 June coordinating committee has released a statement.

“Egyptians have shown they are worthy of freedom, democracy and social justice which they have been calling for since the January revolution. We thank the Egyptian people who have revolted in their millions for a free Egypt, free of fascism, tyranny and injustice.”

Despite the fact that millions of people peacefully protested, said the statement, “the presidency has released a statement belittling us and our legitimate demands and our million man marches all over Egypt’s squares.”

The statement added that the 30 June coordinating committee “stand behind the people and their just demands” and calls for continuing the national strike which involves “the use of all democratic means to demonstrate, hold sit-ins and strikes and besiege all state institutions and we demand the trial all those responsible for torture, killing and announcing edicts inciting against the people and calls for terrorism which was called for by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The committee includes the Revolutionary Youth Union, the Front’s youth organisation, the Maspero Youth Union, the Socialist Youth Union, the Liberal Youth Front, the Justice and Freedom Youth, the April 6 Democratic Front, the Mina Daniel Movement, and the National Salvation Front member parties - the Democratic Front Party, the Constitution Party, the Wafd Party, the Free Egyptians Party, the Egyptian Communist Party, the Egyptian Socialist Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Tagammu Party, the Nasserist Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Karama Party, the Egypt Freedom Party, the Egyptian Popular Current and the National Association for Change.

23:50 Pro-Morsi demonstrators are still camping out at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Nasr City, a short distance away from the presidential palace.

Pro-Morsi Demonstration on June 30th

23:45 The president’s office is holding its second press conference of the day. The spokesman stresses the president’s respect for the demands of the street, but says that dialogue is necessary.

"We respect the demands of the streets, and we acknowledge that the political scene in Egypt is continuously changing; however, initiatives are being made constantly and communications are ongoing.

"Those who have demands or visions must sit for dialogue," said spokesman Omar Amer who reminded the audience of the president’s ongoing calls for dialogue which have been repeatedly rejected by much of the opposition.

Amer further stressed that the presidency will continue to protect the peaceful protests in assurance of the right for expression. He also praised the "nationalistic role played by security forces" in protecting the protests.

Asked about reports of police officers joining the anti-Morsi protests, Amer stressed that it is a matter to be judged by the ministry of interior, and not by the presidency. 

23:40 The Freedom and Justice Party’s administrative office in Upper Egypt’s Beni Sueif was torched by anti-Morsi protesters, reports Ahram Arabic.

According to Ahram, the empty office was bombarded with Molotov cocktails.

23:35 From Damietta in the north of Egypt, Hatem El-Bayaa of the Socialist Popular Alliance tells Ahram Online that demonstrators in the city, estimated to be several thousand, have taken over the governorate headquarters and the offices of the local education authority. In coordination with employees within the governorate offices, anti-Morsi protesters are planning to occupy other government buildings to prevent Damietta governor Tarek Fathallah Khedr from entering his office.

Khedr is a police general who was appointed on 16 June by the president. He is a member of the liberal Ghad Al-Thawra Party, a rare liberal ally of Morsi.

23:25 Some shots of today's protests here.

23:20 In Assiut, the site of today's most deadly clashes, army and police have been deployed at the governorate headquarters and at the Freedom and Justice Party headquarters, located 100 metres apart, reports Ahram’s Osama Sediq.

Police are firing teargas in front of the FJP headquarters, where clashes are still ongoing and sounds of gunshots can be heard.

Clashes started when an anti-Morsi demonstration of several thousand passed by the FJP office. The FJP youth, who were forming a human shield to protect the office, thought protesters were attacking them, so they fired birdshot and live rounds, reports Sediq.

 23:10 Sexual harassment seems to be worsening in Tahrir Square. Tahrir Bodyguards, a civil initiative fighting harassment, tweets:

Lots of reported cases of assault & harassment in #Tahrir. We recommend extreme caution in the area, especially for female protesters #EndSH

Another anti-harassment initiative, OpAntiSH, reports that the number of cases reported to them has gone up to 26, and tweets that: 

There are men with sticks at the entrance of the metro station across from KFC in #Tahrir who are attacking women. Please avoid.

23:00 Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya’s Building and Development Party have released a statement claiming that the protester killed in Beni Suef earlier was a member of their group.

Atef Marzouk, a leading member of the Islamist group in Beni Suef, accused opponents of President Mohamed Morsi of initiating the attack by firing birdshot at a pro-Morsi march.

“We defended ourselves until one of us was martyred," said Marzouk.

Earlier, journalist Shaimaa Mafhouz told us that a thousand-strong anti-Morsi rally in Beni Suef was fired at. She said: 

"A number of assailants, accused by protesters of being Islamist supporters of Morsi, attacked the rally...Some clusters of protesters scattered and hid inside the mosques surrounding the square; at the same time the armed forces mobilised to contain the situation. Assailants continued briefly to fire at the mosques where protesters were hiding but they ran away when the army arrived," Mahfouz said.

The Beni Suef office of the Egyptian Popular Current, a leftist group led by opposition leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, also claimed in a statement that 30 members of “the jihadist movement” in Beni Suef were the ones who fired at the protest and that several protesters were injured.

Mahfouz told Ahram Online she saw a child injured with a bullet to the shoulder.

Ahram Online has not been able to independently verify what happened in Beni Suef.

22:50 Political forces protesting in front of Ittihadiya presidential palace have announced from the main stage that they will hold an open ended sit-in until “the fall of the regime”, reports state-owned news agency MENA.

They are further calling on all workers and employees at state institutions to go on a general strike starting Monday until July.

22:40 Thousands of protesters, many of them women, are gathering in front of Qubba presidential palace singing and chanting, reports Ahram Online's Ahmed Abdel-Rasoul.

An anonymous source had earlier told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that President Mohamed Morsi was at Qubba presidential palace, which is around three kilometres away from Ittihadiya.

22:30 Ahram Online’s Bassem Abo El-Abbas reports from the presidential palace where he says that fireworks are lighting up the sky as military helicopters continue to scan the palace perimeter.

Fathi Mabrouk, a 36-year-old bearded man in traditional attire told Abbas he is taking part in the protest because he doesn't believe in political Islam, adding that President Morsi “has been unjust to his people and thus he should be forced out of power for he disobeyed Islamic values.”

"I am also against the return of military rule even for another transitional period. I approve of the scenario of the head of the High Constitutional Court replacing Morsi until new elections are held," Mabrouk added.

22:20 Three protesters have been killed in Upper Egypt’s Assiut, chief of security in the city General Abou El-Qassem Abou El-Deif has said in a press statement.

The three people were part of an anti-Morsi protest of thousands which was attacked by unknown assailants as they were marching near the Freedom and Justice Party’s headquarters in the Upper Egyptian governorate.

According to Ahram Arabic, one of the slain, Abanob Atef, was killed after being shot in the head by gunmen on a motorcycle.

At least eight were injured in the attack, including a police officer.

22:15 A military source told Ahram Arabic that the army helicopters hovering over Cairo aim to secure protesters and make sure everything is peaceful.The same source says Egypt's armed forces are securing the borders.

Ahram Online’s Ayat Al-Tawy was in Tahrir around an hour ago, and she reported that the helicopters flying overhead were welcomed with rapturous applause, flag-waving, and pro-army slogans.

She spoke to protester Wafaa Mohamed, who was wearing the full face veil, about why she was in Tahrir today.

“The people in Rabaa Al-Adawiya are brainwashed. Morsi is a hypocrite, a liar; he’s unjust.”

22:05 Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Judge Hatem Bagato, has written his resignation and will submit it on Monday, sources have told Ahram Arabic website.

22:00 Egyptian Health Minister Mohamed Hamed confirms the death of 25-year-old Ammar Gouda, the protester who was killed in Beni Suef earlier when unknown assailants open-fired on an anti-Morsi protest.

Hamed also said that the injury toll across seven governorates had increased to 228 from 174, with 36 being discharged from hospitals. A lot of the injuries are related to the heat and crowds rather than clashes.

21:50 In Assiut, Aswat Masriya reports, unknown assailants riding a motorcycle shot at an anti-Morsi demonstration, injuring one protester who took a bullet in the head. He was transferred to hospital.

Protesters in Assiut have said that they will start a sit-in.

21:45 The 6 April Youth Movement and the liberal Constitution Party have announced that they will hold a sit-in in front of Abdeen Palace in downtown Cairo.

The announcement said they had received information that Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil is currently inside.

"Our peaceful assembly in front of Abdeen Palace comes as another instrument of pressure against the government in order to achieve the people's demand of holding snap presidential elections," said spokesman Mohamed Adel in a press statement following the announcement.

21:30 An eyewitness tells Ahram Online that she saw 12 people injured in the ongoing melee at the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters, saying the number of injuries is likely be higher and is expected to further rise the coming few hours.

The 26-year-old, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said some were injured by birdshot, including a photojournalist who was shot in the eye.

An officer had his back wounded by birdshot, as did a female journalist who sustained a leg injury. According to the witness, the building was first attacked with Molotov cocktails and stones.

The eyewitness also stresses that birdshot is used by both Muslim Brotherhood members and their opponents.  

21:20 OpAntiSH, one of the civil society anti-sexual harassment initiatives that is present in Tahrir Square tonight, reports on Twitter that there have been a number of incidents:

The total number of mob assaults in #Tahrir has risen to 13. Three took place near Hardee's,
and we were able to intervene.

Tahrir Bodyguards, another such initiative, tweets that the huge crowds in Tahrir are reducing mobility, creating opportunities for sexual harassment and making it difficult for the group's members to rescue victims.
Ahram Online's Ayat Al-Tawy who is in the square says that she has felt a bit uncomfortable at times, and has seen some minor harassment by groups of men surrounding girls and catcalling them.

"One girl screamed and slapped a guy who was approaching her. I don't know what started it, but a number of people surrounded her and asked her if she needed help."


21:15 The Egyptian health ministry reports that hospitals have received 174 injured protesters today in seven different governorates: Cairo, Alexandria, Daqahliya, Gharbiya, Menoufiya, Beni Suef and Beheira.

The ministry said four cases in Gharbiya were from birdshot wounds, with no official confirmation of the Beni Suef anti-Morsi protester who died, according to the city’s police chief.

21:10 It’s now 9:10pm, and millions are filling squares in Cairo and in other locations all over Egytp, protesting against President Mohamed Morsi.

In addition to Tahrir Square and the vicinity outside the presidential palace, squares in Alexandria, in the Nile Delta and in Upper Egypt are also full of protesters.

There is relatively little violence so far, with the exception of brief clashes in Beni Suef where one person was killed. The army broke up the situation after unknown assailants fired on anti-Morsi protesters, and the situation is now calm, with the protest continuing.

Supporters of the president remain gathered at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Nasr City, where hundreds of thousands are holding their sit-in for the third day. 

20:50 It seems that the protest areas in Cairo are so packed, mobile networks are overloaded and it's hard to get through to people in the area.

20:40 Osman El-Sharnoubi, who is still at the presidential palace in Heliopolis, says that protesters are carrying flags bearing the face of revolution’s slain protesters, like Mohamed ‘Gika’ Gabr who was killed during Morsi’s rule, Mina Daniel who was killed during the rule of the military council, and Khaled Said who was killed under Mubarak.

20:37 Prominent Sunni cleric Youssef El-Qaradawi, known for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, has released a video statement calling on Egyptians to stay patient with President Mohamed Morsi, stressing that he is expected to make mistakes as he is a human being.

“If we have waited on the Mubarak’s regime for 30 years, and another 30 years before him on the tyrants, why can’t we wait on Morsi for a year?” asked El-Qaradawi.

El-Qaradawi further pointed out that President Morsi has been asking for dialogue.

20:35 Thousands of protesters have joined rallies at Al-Shoun Square in key industrial city of Mahalla.

Protesters are chanting against President Mohamed Morsi, repeating slogans such as “Abdel-Nasser has said it before, the Muslim Brotherhood are not to be trusted,” a famous chant referring to former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser whose era witnessed the persecution of several Islamist figures.

20:30 American journalist Kristen Chick is at the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo right now. She reports on her Twitter account that there is a fire in the yard and the sound of shots being fired. She tweets:

"We want to break in" one guy tells me at MB HQ. "why?" "Bc they are choking us" he says."

Headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood (Photo: Al-Ahram)

20:25 Around two hundred protesters are gathering in front of President Mohamed Morsi's house in New Cairo, a wealthy satellite city outside of Cairo, as security forces deploy barriers to keep protesters away from the building. 

20:25 An enormous tent made of blankets is being erected near Omar Al-Eslam Mosque in Sidi Gaber for protesters to sleep under, reports Ahram Online’s Yasmine Fathi.

One of the protesters in Alexandria, Wael Nabil, tells Yasmine that he is determined to stay until Morsi leaves, even if it means waiting a year.

“Mubarak repressed us, but at least he gave us services; at least he didn’t cut the electricity, water and petrol like now.”

“Nothing has changed; my salary didn’t increase. My wife is pregnant, how will I provide for my baby?” added Nabil. 

20:23 Ahram Online’s Osman El-Sharnoubi reports that the vicinity of the Ittihadiya presidential palace is extremely crowded, with moving even small distances taking a long time. The crowd seems never-ending as one walks away from the palace. Fireworks are being lit from a building overlooking the avenue as the crowds cheer.

According to Osman, it’s not possible to see the end of the crowd. 

20:20 Reports of violence at the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo.

Around 500 people gathered at headquarters in Cairo's Moqattam district, hurling Molotov cocktails and stones at the building, says state news agency MENA, which quoted eyewitness as saying they had heard shots during the melee.

Senior FJP official Gehad El-Haddad says on Twitter:

No police on scene yet in #Moqatam. Security is dealing w/ attacking thugs. They were joined by othrs wearing blackblock uniform w/ firearms

A number of offices of the Brotherhood and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, have been attacked in recent days.

20:15 Ahram Online’s Yasmine Fathi says spirits in Alexandria’s Sidi Gaber are high. “People are playing drums, clapping, waving flags,” she reports.

Occasionally, helicopters pass over the protests and people cheer and wave, reports Fathi.

20:12 In Gharbiya governorate’s Kafr El-Zayat, hundreds are participating in anti-Morsi protests.

 Crowds are chanting: “national unity against the Muslim Brotherhood” and “you who rule in the name of religion, where is justice and where is religion?”

20:10 Leading labour activist Kamal El-Fayoumi, currently protesting in front of Ittihadiya palace in Cairo, tells Ahram Online that he will be heading back to the industrial city of Mahalla tomorrow.

“By then, if the regime hasn’t been toppled we will join the sit-in and the calls for civil disobedience,”added Al-Fayoumi.

Amir Bassam, Shura Council member from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, tells Orbit TV that crowds supporting President Morsi around Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo are more than all the anti-Morsi protesters, not only in Tahrir Square, but all across Egypt.

Given the numbers of people reported in Tahrir Square and at the Ittihadiya presidential palace - both packed to overflowing - this seems highly unlikely.

20:05 The main opposition coalition group, the National Salvation Front, has issued a “revolutionary statement.”

"In the name of the Egyptian people with all their factions, the National Salvation Front announces public endorsement of the ouster of the regime of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood," the statement reads.
"The Egyptian population continue their revolution and will impose their will, which has become unequivocally clear in all Egypt's squares."
"The Salvation Front also trusts that the Egyptian people will protect its revolution until peaceful transition of power is fulfilled...we also call on all political forces and all citizens to remain peaceful…and refrain from dealing with the failed Brotherhood government until the fall of this tyrannical organisation."

20:00 There are reports of deadly violence in Beni Suef in Upper Egypt.

Ibrahim Hodeib, chief of security in Beni Suef, said that one protester was killed and 30 injured following an attack by unknown assailants, in a phone interview with private satellite channel CBC.

Journalist Shaimaa Mafhouz tells Ahram Online that a thousand-strong anti-Morsi rally in El-Modereya Square, the main square in Muslim Brotherhood stronghold Beni Suef, was fired at.

"A number of assailants, accused by protesters of being Islamist supporters of Morsi, attacked the rally...Some clusters of protesters scattered and hid inside the mosques surrounding the square; at the same time the armed forces mobilised to contain the situation. Assailants continued briefly to fire at the mosques where protesters were hiding but they ran away when the army arrived," Mahfouz said.

The Beni Suef office of the Egyptian Popular Current, a leftist group led by opposition leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, claimed in a statement that 30 members of “the jihadist movement” in Beni Suef were the ones who fired at the protest and that several protesters were injured.

Mahfouz told Ahram Online she saw a child injured with a bullet to the shoulder.

Hodeib told Ahram Arabic news website that one suspect behind the violence is Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya leader in the city named Ahmed Youssef.

Ahram Arabic reporter in Beni Suef Emad Abouzeid says the assailants fired birdshot at the protest, although others said that the assailants used live ammunition.

19:55 Members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) have gathered in Aswan in front of their party headquarters to secure them, reports Ahram Arabic website.

Aswan, in Upper Egypt has also seen a heavy security presence securing police stations.

 19:55 Ayman Masoud, keyboardist for Egyptian band Massar Egbari, tells Ahram Online’s Rowan El-Shimi that "there is a lot of energy among people marching to Tahrir,” adding that in Alexandria, the hometown of the band, they are used to marching everywhere and not having sit-ins.

 “Here everyone is excited and putting their energy into the chants,” added Masoud.

Tahrir Square
Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi set off fireworks during a protest at Tahrir Square in Cairo June 30, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

19:50 Solidarity protests have been taking place at a number of locations around the world.  Dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank held a small protest in Ramallah in solidarity with Egyptians demanding that President Morsi step down. Protesters held placards saying "No injustice, Egypt is the mother of freedom.”

There were also reportedly protests by Egyptian expats in Jordan and in Norway, according to state news agency MENA.

19:45 Heba El-Sayed, a nurse at the field clinic in Omar El-Islam Mosque in Alexandria’s Sidi Gaber, tells Ahram Online’s Yasmine Fathi that several people have been injured in sporadic scuffles between protesters. So far, however, Alexandria has not seen the kind of violent clashes that have been taking place over the last few days.

19:40 Meanwhile, in Upper Egypt's Luxor, hundreds of boats are reportedly heading down the Nile to voice their opposition to President Mohamed Morsi.

Hundreds of other protesters are marching around the touristic city en route to their rallying-point at the governorate building, where they plan to hold a sit-in until their demands are met. 

19:35 “If Morsi or the Brotherhood had any real presence, they would have organised a million-man march either here [Alexandria] or in Cairo, but they could only fill Rabaa Al-Adawiya,” Sarah Mamdouh, one of the protesters at Alexandria’s Sidi Gaber, tells Ahram Online’s Yasmine Fathi.

Mamdouh added that Morsi had lost his legitimacy by “his dictatorial decisions and his inability to listen to other political opinions.

“He made people who were against each other unite against him, even the remnants of the former regime,” added Mamdouh.

Sidi Gaber
Anti-Morsi protesters gather in a main square during a massive protest, in the Sidi Gaber area of Alexandria, June 30, 2013. (Reuters)

19:30 From the vicinity of the presidential palace, former MP Mostafa El-Naggar tells Ahram Online that “talks of Morsi’s legitimacy is null and void now and is used by the Brotherhood to scare people off the early elections scenario...there is a revolutionary legitimacy now. The legitimacy of millions in the street trumps the previous electoral legitimacy,”

He adds that the army’s role should be to protect the transitional period.

19:30 Welcome to the second part of Ahram Online's live updates. Today, the anniversary of President Mohamed Morsi's first year in power, we are seeing virtually unprecedented numbers of protesters taking to the streets to demand that the president step down. Both Tahrir Square and the vicinity of the Itihadiya presidential palace in Heliopolis are packed with people.

There are also protests all over Egypt, including Mansoura, Damanhour, Alexandria, Mahalla, Suez, Minya and Sharqiya, and there have been some violent clashes reported in Tanta.  

There is also a large demonstration and sit-in taking place in Cairo's Nasr City in support of President Morsi. 

For the first part of Ahram's live updates, click here.

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