110 injured in clashes at Cairo's Tahrir Square
Updated: 2012-10-13 12:51
CAIRO - Clashes erupted Friday at Tahrir Square, a downtown area in Egypt's capital Cairo, leaving 110 people injured, the health ministry reported.
The clashes erupted between pro-Muslim Brotherhood (MB) protestors demanding the retrial of senior officials of the government of former President Hosni Mubarak and anti-MB liberalists calling for a constitution that represents all Egyptians.
After the Islamists-dominated constitution-writing body Constitutional Assembly announced a partial constitution on Wednesday, anti-MB liberalists and secularists complained that the constitution was unfair. Protesters went on marches at Tahrir Square on Friday, calling for the reform of the Constitutional Assembly.
"We want a constitution representing all Egyptians, not only Islamists," 26-year-old Khaled Abdel Naby told Xinhua, accusing the new constitution of neglecting women's rights.
Meanwhile, pro-MB protesters, angered by a ruling by Cairo Criminal Court on Wednesday that acquitted 24 senior officials of Mubarak era charged for murdering protesters last year in a case dubbed "camel battle," also gathered at the square demanding judicial justice.
Liberal demonstrators shouted, "Down for the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood," while pro-MB protesters chanted, "Freedom. Justice. We are defending President Morsi." Clashes erupted when pro-MB protesters destroyed platforms set by liberals and secularists, leaving 10 people injured.
Revolutionary Youth Union, Revolutionary Youth Coalition and some other liberal parties were present at the square to show their dissatisfaction with President Mohamed Morsi's "inadequate performance" in his first 100 days as president.
"In his first 100 days, we only felt a slight change in security and traffic, but the problems of power, bread and city- cleaning are still standing," Mahmoud el-Khobary, general coordinator of Revolutionary Youth Coalition, told Xinhua.
"Down, down with rule by the guide," Morsi's opponents chanted, in reference to MB's leader Mohamed Badie. "Morsi, Morsi," the president's backers responded.
Islamists and their opponents threw stones, bottles and petrol bombs at each other. A temporary podium was completely destroyed. TV clips showed that fires rose as cars were burned.
Some leaders of the MB began to worry that the situation in the square may lose control, calling their members to clam down.
The MB political arm Freedom and Justice Party's deputy chairman Essam el-Arian urged MB members to gather outside the Supreme Judicial Court to protect it. Meanwhile, the MB spokesperson Mahmoud Ghazlan asked MB's youth to withdraw.
After a state of hit-and-run for more than seven hours, supporters of Morsi left the square, while the liberalists stayed there and continued to call for a constitution that represents all Egyptians.
Following Friday prayer in Alexandria, Morsi asserted the independence of the judicial authority, "but we couldn't neglect the criminals who corrupted our nation or those who impeded the development march."
The president added, "Egypt is an oasis for good and security, and its people will rise from its stumble which lasts for decades soon."
Morsi on Thursday ousted Prosecutor General Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud in a presidential decree, while the prosecutor refused to resign.
Mahmoud said Friday he will stick to his office to defend the judiciary immunity ensured by the constitutional declaration and the judiciary law.
He reiterated that he never submitted his resignation, asserting that "no one could sack the prosecutor general or remove him from his office unless he asks or reach the age of retirement. "
The Islamist Wasat party said in a statement published by the official MENA news agency that the prosecutor general has failed to collect evidences of murdering protestors in the "camel battle. "