[QODLink]
Middle East

Deadly clashes as Egyptians mark uprising

Violence in Suez and elsewhere, as opposition hold anti-government protests marking the revolution's second anniversary.
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2013 06:40

Violence has erupted across Egypt as tens of thousands of people took to the streets to deliver an angry backlash against President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, demanding he step down on the second anniversary of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

At least seven people were killed on Friday, and 476 others wounded, in the clashes in several cities, a police source told Al Jazeera.

Two years to the day after protesters first rose up against the autocratic ex-president, the new phase of Egypt's upheaval was on display: the struggle between the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and their opponents, played out against the backdrop of a worsening economy.

Rallies turned to clashes in multiple cities around Egypt, with police firing tear gas and protesters throwing stones.

At least six people, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed in Suez, where protesters set ablaze a building that once housed the city's local government. Another person died in clashes in Ismailia, another Suez Canal city east of Cairo.

The army deployed troops to Suez late on Friday to take over control of the city's security.

In response to the deaths, Morsi called on Egyptians to reject violence. The president urged "citizens to adhere to the values of the revolution, express opinions freely and peacefully and renounce violence," said a message posted on his Twitter account.

"I’m offering my condolences to all Egyptians, the martyrs in Suez and the policemen who were the victims of ugly violence," he said. "Egypt's [security] apparatuses will chase the criminals and bring them to justice. They are also doing their best to protect and secure the peaceful demonstrations."

In Cairo, thousands took to the capital's now-iconic Tahrir Square earlier in the day, where youths protesting against President Morsi clashed with Cairo police.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from Cairo, said that the crowds were starting to clear by late evening. although sporadic clashes, she said, were still taking place and police continue to use teargas to push protesters away from government buildings.

"They're shouting right now, saying 'irhal' - leave, leave - in reference to Mohamed Morsi, and the feeling here on the street...is the the Muslim Brotherhood aren't interested making changes to better the lives of people," said Tadros.

"What they're interested in is strengthening their grip on power."

Unrest in multiple cities

Police fired tear gas at protesters as clashes broke out in two neighbourhoods of Alexandria, Egypt's second city.

Hundreds of youths fought Egyptian police in Cairo on Friday on the second anniversary of the revolt  [Reuters]

Protesters burned tyres, sending plumes of dark smoke into the sky.

Dozens of protesters continued to arrive in the area surrounding the mosque.

Protesters also stormed the governorate headquarters in the canal city of Ismailiya and attempted to storm two other buildings elsewhere, witnesses said.

They broke into a building used by security services, setting fire to one room and looting furniture.

Protesters surrounded the governorate building in Damietta and in the Nile Delta city of Kafr el-Sheikh they stormed the courtyard of the governorate leading to clashes.

Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna, reporting from the Egyptian capital, said that demonstrators there are "attempting to get through to the Ministry of the Interior, which has been barricaded off." 

Our correspondent said the people protesting in Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said and Suez were angry and were "not convinced that their government is acting in their interests".

'Bread, freedom, social justice'

Calls for mass street protests against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, from which he hails, have been led by the secular-leaning opposition.

Protesters have been urged to use the same slogan used during the uprsing in 2011: "Bread, freedom, social justice."

Mohamed ElBaradei, an opposition leader and former head of the UN's atomic agency, wrote on his Twitter account: "Go out into the squares to finally achieve the objectives of the revolution".


Police in Cairo also deployed tear gas outside the presidential palace in an effort to keep protesters away from the building.

Our correspondent in Cairo said that the Muslim Brotherhood had sent out messages discouraging its members from participating in the protests, suggesting that they instead perform acts of civic responsibility, such as planting trees.

"And these things have been happening," said Mike Hanna. He added that despite protests, there were also crowds celebrating the second anniversary of the revolution.

Earlier on Thursday, tensions ran high as police clashed with protesters who tried to dismantle a wall of concrete blocks.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood has not officially called for its own rallies, choosing to mark the anniversary by launching a charitable and social initiative dubbed "Together we will build Egypt."

835

Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.