Two buses torched and many injured as supporters of Egyptian President Morsi hurl petrol bombs & stones.
Reuters A government is in place, but Islamists and liberals are at loggerheads over the drafting of the new constitution, which must be agreed before a new parliament can be elected.
Many of the thousands who gathered in Tahrir Square were angry at this week’s court ruling that acquitted former officials charged with ordering a camel-and-horseback charge on protesters in the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak last year.
But even before that ruling, Morsi’s opponents had called for protests against what they say is his failure to deliver on his promises for his first 100 days in office.
“Down, down with rule by the guide!” Morsi’s opponents chanted, suggesting that Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie pulls the strings even though Morsi officially quit the Brotherhood on taking office.
Some demonstrators pulled down a temporary podium that had been erected on a side of the square for speeches. Later, Islamists took over the square, triggering scuffles in nearby streets as they tried to keep rival groups out.
Two buses parked near the square were set alight. Witnesses said they had been used by the Brotherhood to bring in supporters.
The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in a statement expressed its “sorrow” over what happened to the buses it said were used to bring members to Cairo. It also condemned an attack on the Brotherhood’s headquarters in the industrial city of El-Mahalla El-Kubra.
“We went to protest against the constituent assembly and Mursi’s failure in his 100 days, and Islamists prevented us and are now controlling the square,” said Islam Wagdy, 19, a member of a group set up by leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahy.
An FJP spokesman denied this. “What happened today was an attempt by the liberal powers … to prevent Islamists expressing their views and protesting in Tahrir, which belongs to all Egyptians and not to a certain current,” Ahmed Sobeih said.
There was no intervention by police, who have often been the target of protesters’ anger because of their brutality against demonstrators in last year’s revolt.
Many more secular-minded Egyptians and minority Christians also worry that Mursi and his Islamist supporters will seek to impose religious restrictions on society.