- Middle East/North Africa
Presidential Spokesperson Yasser Ali said Saturday that investigations into the clashes in front of Ettehadiya Palace Friday have begun, and that investigators were trying to determine whether or not the clashes were instigated by political groups.
In a phone call with a talk show aired on the privately-owned satellite channel CBC, Ali said several people involved in yesterday’s clashes were arrested and were currently being interrogated.
Regarding the protester who was stripped naked and dragged by security forces in front the palace, Ali said that the president's office rejects such incidents and that it is following the Interior Ministry's investigations.
One person was killed in front of the presidential palace in Heliopolis and at least 91 were injured nationwide Friday during clashes that broke out amid larger demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsy's rule.
A video by satellite channel Al-Hayat of a protester being stripped naked, dragged through the streets and beaten by security forces in front of the palace has drawn widespread condemnation and put the president's office on the defensive once again over human rights abuses and the conduct of police and security forces during protests.
Ali also rejected reports that the president was not taking the national dialogue seriously, saying that many of the goals agreed upon during dialogue sessions have been achieved. Ali cited the president's referral of proposals on the parliamentary elections law to the Shura Council as an example of a promise he fulfilled.
Ali added that the next dialogue session will discuss the security situation in the canal governorates, and called on all political parties to participate, saying that imposing conditions on the dialogue was "not democratic."