Egypt: Tear gas in Cairo as Muslim Brotherhood leader starts trial

10th Dec 2013

As the trial of the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood got under way in Cairo, students continued protests for a second day. Police fired tear gas on demonstrators as the defendant denounced the trial.

Mohammed Badie, the leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, appeared in court for the first time on Monday to face charges of inciting violence in July clashes that left at least five people dead and a further 100 people injured in the western Cairo district of Giza. He was joined in the courtroom by 13 other leaders from the Islamist group who face similar charges.

Monday’s courtroom session marks Badie’s first public appearance since his arrest in the Cairo district of Nasr in August.

During the proceedings in the courtroom, the defendants interrupted several times to chant “down with military rule.”

Badie referred to the death of his son in the summer protests, asking the judge why that was not being investigated, along with the burning of Badie’s house.

The state-run al-Ahram newspaper quoted Badie as saying, “My group and I are the victims and not the accused.”

Protests turn violent

Meanwhile, students of Cairo’s Al-Azhar University took to the streets for the second day in a row to protest the arrest and subsequent trial or sentencing of several fellow students.

Police in Cairo used tear gas to disperse the crowds after security vehicles were set on fire by the protesters. Several dozen arrests were made, according to the Interior Ministry.

The ministry added that a group of about 200 protesters had barricaded the road leading to the university and were throwing rocks and petrol bombs.

The university is often the scene of protests against the army-backed government, which took over after the removal of President Mohammed Morsi on July 3. In the months that followed, more than 1,000 people were killed in clashes.

Egyptian authorities have arrested several thousand people linked to his largest political backer, the Muslim Brotherhood.

mz/mkg (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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