ShareThis Page
Violent clashes show no slowdown outside Egyptian palace |
Valley News Dispatch

Violent clashes show no slowdown outside Egyptian palace

Betsy Hiel
| Wednesday, December 5, 2012 8:14 p.m
Supporters of Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy attack an anti-Morsy protester on Wednesday outside the presidential palace in Cairo. AP

CAIRO — Bloody clashes continued outside Egypt’s presidential palace into Thursday as followers of President Mohamed Morsy attacked an opposition sit-in.

It was the worst violence between the sides since the 2011 revolution that deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak.

At least three were killed and more than 350 injured by nightfall, according to the Health Ministry.

Hundreds of thousands across the nation protested a day earlier against Morsy, the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and a draft constitution that opponents say will limit individual freedom and impose Islamic rule.

Protesters in the capital forced Morsy to leave the palace, where a small number of protesters remained encamped. His whereabouts were not known.

The violence erupted when Brotherhood supporters marched on the palace to defend Morsy’s “legitimacy against brutal transgressions.” They attacked the sit-in, which brought out more opposition forces.

Both sides threw stones and Molotov cocktails. They traded taunts — “The people want the implementation of Allah’s law!” and “The people want the downfall of the regime!”

Anti-Morsy activists accused Morsy supporters of using clubs, pellet guns and live ammunition.

“They are savages. They have weapons, they have tear gas, they are shooting from the buildings,” Mohamed Soliman, a student protester, said of Morsy’s supporters.

“It’s chaotic, it’s horrible. The civil war has just begun.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, leader of Egypt’s Salvation Front opposition coalition, warned that the “vicious attacks” on the anti-Morsy crowd will lead to greater bloodshed.

Essam El Erian, deputy leader of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice political party, described the violence as “the last battle between the revolution and the counter-revolution.”

As the fighting broke out, Vice President Mahmoud Mekki said Egypt’s political unrest cannot be solved by “counter protests.” He dismissed critics’ comparisons of Morsy to the ousted Mubarak as a “blatant injustice.”

ElBaradei, a former U.N. diplomat and Nobel laureate, warned that “Egyptians will protest in every place … and won’t back down” unless Morsy rescinds a Nov. 22 decree seizing near-total power and postpones a Dec. 15 constitutional referendum.

He described Morsy’s government as a “repressive regime” and called on him to address the nation.

“Morsy has lost all legitimacy to rule this country,” said Hamdeen Sabahi, an unsuccessful leftist presidential candidate. He said the Salvation Front will follow ElBaradei’s leadership.

In an Internet posting, the Brotherhood accused followers Mubarak of paying thugs to attack protesters at the palace to “spread violence and chaos.” It said it holds ElBaradei and Sabahi “fully responsible” for further violence.

After two days of spreading unrest, Egypt — a key U.S. ally and major U.S. aid recipient under Mubarak — appears to be lurching toward a political abyss.

In the upscale neighborhood of Heliopolis, where most of the street fighting occurred, cars sat destroyed, store windows were shattered, and residents formed block-watch groups as they did during the lawlessness that followed last year’s revolution.

Many Egyptians lamented the violent turn.

“My country bleeds,” writer and political analyst Bassem Sabry posted on his Twitter account.

Betsy Hiel is the Tribune-Review’s foreign correspondent. Email her at

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.