Opposition protesters clashed with Islamists near the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo on Friday after activists marched to the building guarded by police and members of Egypt’s ruling movement. Medics said at least 30 people were injured.
Gunshots were heard as hundreds of opposition activists and the Islamists battled in the streets of the Mokattam neighborhood where the headquarters is situated. But the source of the gunfire was unknown.
The website of Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted witnesses who said they heard gunshots being fired from a building adjacent to the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters.
The report added that unknown gunmen fired at demonstrators in a different part of Mokattam, near Nafoura Square, injuring five.
Police had fired tear gas at the protesters outside the headquarters before the clashes moved elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Local media reported that anti-Brotherhood protesters, comprised mostly of secular and left-leaning factions, had called on today’s protest after Islamists allegedly attacked a group of opposition supporters near the headquarters on Saturday.
The Islamist movement had vowed on Thursday to protect its headquarters and bused in hundreds of supporters.
As the clashes rumbled on, live television showed hundreds of protesters carrying anti-Brotherhood banners and making their way up to the hilly Mokattam neighborhood.
Protesters attacked and set fire to a number of buses that were being used by the Muslim Brotherhood to transport their supporters to the city.
State TV showed large plumes of black smoke rising from the surrounding streets which it said came from buses set on fire.
Primarily, “the protection of private and public property is the responsibility of the police,” the Muslim Brotherhood’s secretary general Mahmoud Hussein said at a news conference.
“But the owner of every house has the right to defend it using all means. If the police don’t carry out their responsibility, we will protect our property with all we own,” he added.
The Brotherhood has seen about 30 of its offices across the country attacked in widespread protests against President Mohammed Mursi who belongs to the party.
(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)