About 2,000 Islamists have rallied in Cairo. In Egypt’s coastal city of Alexandria police fired tear gas to disperse Muslim Brotherhood supporters when they clashed with counterprotesters, a security official said.
The Interior Ministry had warned the Islamists that it would “confront any attempts to break the legitimacy” of the interim government, adding that it had deployed security reinforcements in Tahrir Square and streets around it and near the US embassy in central Cairo. However, after Friday’s protests, which commemorated 100 days since Morsi’s ouster, another Interior Ministry statement announced that most of the “limited” marches had passed without incident.
On Sunday, fierce clashes had erupted when security forces prevented Islamists from trying to reach Tahrir Square, where supporters of the military celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Arab-Israeli war. Fighting there killed more than 50 people as nine more died in similar battles across Egypt.
‘Places of bloodshed’
Ahead of Friday, the Anti-Coup Alliance had repeatedly urged its supporters to march toward Tahrir Square, the main symbol of the uprising that toppled former strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011. However, in a last-minute statement, the alliance, which rejects Egypt’s military-installed government, called on protesters to avoid marching on Tahrir Square.
The “coup regime is shedding blood without any respect to law or values adopted by our great people,” read the statement from the coalition, spearheaded by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement. “So the alliance is calling for marchers to avoid places of bloodshed, be it Tahrir or other squares,” the statement added, noting that such locations would “lead to more bloodshed.”
At least 77 people have died in protests across Egypt since October 4. Nationwide, protests and crackdowns have led to the deaths of up to 1,000 people and the detention of 2,000, mostly Islamists, since August 14, when security forces killed hundreds of Morsi supporters in a brutal crackdown at Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares.
mkg/dr (Reuters, AFP, AP)