- Middle East/North Africa
Late Friday afternoon the Muslim Brotherhood organized a massive demonstration in front of the Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque that brought together members of the Salafi and Jama’a al-Islamiya groups, as well as three delegations from the Diocese of Giza, which includes the Virgin Mary Church in Imbaba, the Abu Seven Church in Mohandiseen and the Saint Anthony Church in Ard al-Lewa.
Demonstrators chanted "Muslims and Christians are one hand," and said that the current conflict over the recently released anti-Islam film, "Innocence of Muslims," will only serve to strengthen the relationship between Muslims and Christians in Egypt.
The local media has widely blamed expatriate Copts residing in the United States for involvement in production of the film. Archbishop Silwanus Fekry of Virgin Mary Church told Al-Masry Al-Youm that if that is true, they had acted against true Christianity.
Fekry stressed that Coptic Christians enjoy full rights in their country, noting that Bishop Thodisius of Giza has sent a delegation of priests to demonstrate against insults to the Prophet Mohamed.
Meanwhile, dozens of worshippers staged a protest on the stairs of Fatah Mosque in Ramses Square to denounce the film. The protesters used three loudspeakers on a vehicle. Some of them head to Tahrir Square to join protesters there.
Earlier in the afternoon, hundreds of protesters had marched from Al-Azhar Mosque to Tahrir Square after Friday prayers in a continuation of the ongoing protests against the film.
Mohamed Ahmed, a protester, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that "The march is heading to Tahrir Square. Islam’s enemies should know that Muslims' anger is strong, and [we must] stop these repeated violations against what we hold sacred."
Elsewhere in Cairo dozens of protesters staged a march outside Al-Istiqama Mosque in Giza after Friday prayers.
Also after this morning's prayers, a march of hundreds from Omar Makram Mosque headed by Sheikh Mazhar Shahien failed to stop the ongoing clashes between demonstrators and the security forces near the US Embassy in nearby Garden City.
The clashes, which have been ongoing since Wednesday, continued near the embassy this afternoon when some protesters attempted to climb the concrete barrier erected this morning by security forces and pelted rocks at them. The police responded by throwing tear gas and used water cannons to disperse the demonstrators.
In Tahrir Square, the demonstrators expelled the CBC privately-owned channel's crew and a foreign reporter after assaulting them, claiming that the reporters were biased. Some protesters attempted to intervene on the behalf of the journalists.
Protesters had begun gathering in Tahrir early this morning following a night of battling with CSF forces in the US embassy area.
The demonstrators chanted slogans "God is greatest" and "There is no God but God, and Mohamed is his Prophet” while holding banners condemning the film.
The number of demonstrators in front of the embassy declined on Thursday night, but have now increased again on Friday afternoon.
Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Friday morning that a number of protesters blocked had Qasr al-Nil bridge, which leads to Tahrir Square, in order to keep the square free of traffic and use it as a refuge from potential tear gas bombs.
The Egyptian Ministry of Health announced early Friday morning that 224 have been injured in the ongoing clashes so far. Most of the cases have been of minor wounds and bruises, as well as fainting.
The Interior Ministry said that the CSF arrested 37 protesters on Thursday on charges of assaulting the police and damaging public and private property. The defendants were immediately referred to the public prosecutor for interrogation, the ministry added.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm