Five protesters, including one female were killed an several injured so far during heavy clashes between protesters and security forces across Egypt.
Al-Arabiya As massive protests took off in Egypt against President Mohammed Mursi on Friday, to mark the second anniversary of the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak and brought in an Islamist government, the country’s security forces fired tear gas at protesters near the presidential palace on Friday. The demonstrators were to gather at Tahrir Square and in front of the presidential palace, where anti-Mursi rallies last December descended into deadly clashes with Islamist supporters.
Around 252 protesters were injured after clashes between anti-Mursi demonstrators and security forces in Egypt, the country’s health ministry reported on Friday. However, according to Egypt’s emergency services around 110 were injured after clashes in Cairo and other cities.
Protesters in the iconic birthplace of the 2011 revolution, Tahrir Square, called for the downfall of Mursi’s administration and attempted to destroy some part of the barrier in Sheikh Raihan Street near the square leading to the interior ministry. In Alexandria, around 45 protesters were injured. Meanwhile, Al Masry Al Youm, a local newspaper, said that some Egyptian citizens unleashed some dogs to help the security forces tackling the protesters.
The secular-leaning opposition called for mass street protests against President Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood from which he hails, using the same slogan that brought Egypt to its feet in 2011: “Bread, freedom, social justice.” “Go out into the squares to finally achieve the objectives of the revolution,” opposition leader and former head of the U.N.’s atomic agency Mohamed ElBaradei wrote on his Twitter account.
“I call on everyone to take part and go out to every place in Egypt to show that the revolution must be completed,” ElBaradei, a leading liberal, added in a statement. “It will be against the Brotherhood,” said Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 movement that helped mobilize the uprising against Mubarak through social media. “The goals of the revolution have not been realized yet,” he told Reuters.
Tensions ran high on Thursday as police clashed with protesters who tried to dismantle a wall of concrete blocks shutting off a street leading to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, to ease the movement of demonstrators. Police in the Egyptian city of Alexandria fired tear gas at protesters on Friday, witnesses said, as nationwide rallies.
Clashes erupted in two neighborhoods of Egypt’s second city between police and protesters who burned tyres, sending plumes of dark smoke into the sky. “The smoke is black, there is a lot of gas. There are people on the ground because they can’t breathe,” one of the protesters, only identified as Rasha, told AFP.
After the seismic political changes of 2011, the Arab world’s most populous nation is struggling to find a balance between a leadership that boasts the legitimacy of the ballot and opponents who accuse the Islamists of betraying the goals of the revolution that brought them to power. The country also faces an economic crisis, as foreign investment and tourism dwindle, the Egyptian pound stands is at its lowest level against the dollar and a budget deficit shows no sign of recovery.