May 22, 2013
One dead, dozens hurt in Egypt clashes
CAIRO — At least one protester was shot dead and dozens wounded yesterday when riot police clashed with demonstrators demanding the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, witnesses said.
Youths threw petrol bombs and shot fireworks at the outer wall of Morsi’s Cairo presidential compound as night fell. Police responded by firing water cannon and tear gas leading to skirmishes in the surrounding streets.
Two witnesses said they had seen a protester shot dead in Cairo with live ammunition in front of them.
“It’s verified. I am at the morgue. He was shot with two bullets, and that’s the report of the hospital. The shots were in the neck and the right side of the chest,” said one of the witnesses, lawyer Ragia Omran. Medical and security sources confirmed Mohamed Hussein Qurany, 23, was killed with live bullets.
The head of Egypt’s ambulance service said at least 54 people had been wounded across the country, mostly in Cairo.
With multi-coloured fireworks bouncing off their shields and bursting among them, helmeted and baton-wielding riot police chased protesters at the palace and set their tents ablaze. Petrol bombs briefly set fire to a building inside the compound.
The head of the Republican Guard, which protects the palace, condemned what he described as attempts to climb the compound walls and storm a gate. In a statement to the state news agency, he urged protesters to keep their demonstration peaceful.
Earlier, men dressed in mourning black marched through the Suez Canal city of Port Said, scene of the worst bloodshed of the past eight days, chanting and shaking their fists.
“There is no God but God and Mohammed Morsi is the enemy of God,” they chanted. Brandishing portraits of those killed in recent days, they shouted: “We will die like they did, to get justice!”
There were also scuffles earlier near Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, where police fired teargas at stone-throwing youths. In Alexandria, protesters blocked roads, staged a sit-in on the railway and tried to break into the TV and radio building.
The protesters accuse Morsi of betraying the spirit of the revolution by concentrating too much power in his own hands and those of his Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood accuses the opposition of trying to overthrow the first democratically elected leader in Egypt’s 5,000-year history.
Yesterday’s marches took place despite an intervention by Ahmed al-Tayyeb, head of the 1,000-year-old al-Azhar university and mosque, who hauled in politicians for crisis talks on Thursday where they signed a charter disavowing violence. Morsi’s foes said the pact did not require them to call off demonstrations.
“We brought down the Mubarak regime with a peaceful revolution and are determined to realize the same goals in the same way, regardless of the sacrifices or the barbaric oppression,” tweeted Mohamed ElBaradei, a former head of the UN nuclear watchdog who has become a secularist leader.
Morsi’s office said it would “hold the political forces that may have participated in incitement fully politically responsible, pending results of investigation.”
Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, on his Facebook page, blamed the unrest on “regional and international forces which aim for instability and to stir up problems and ignite strife to damage Egypt ... to thwart the democratic transition.”