Update: Institut d'Egypte annex set on fire in clashes

Update: Institut d'Egypte annex set on fire in clashes

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Thu, 24/01/2013 - 20:22

An annex of the Institut d’Egypte was set on fire Thursday evening during ongoing clashes between protesters and police forces on Qasr al-Aini Street in downtown Cairo. The clashes started up again after the Armed Forces began rebuilding the wall near the entrance to Tahrir Square that demonstrators tore down earlier in the day.

Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that the fire started when a protester threw a Molotov cocktail at security forces. It fell on a tree near the building, setting it ablaze. Satellite channel Al Jazeera later reported that emergency responders brought the flames under control.

Sources at Qasr al-Aini and Mounira Hospitals told Al-Masry Al-Youm that nine have been injured in the clashes so far, including eight police officers.

The Institut d’Egypte burned down on 17 December 2011 during clashes between military forces and protesters in front of the nearby Cabinet building, in which at least 17 people were killed and hundreds injured. It was reopened in October following restoration.

The latest spate of clashes comes after army vehicles arrived on the scene late in the afternoon with concrete blocks and a crane to rebuild the concrete wall ripped apart by protesters that morning.

Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that the Interior Ministry asked the army to help rebuild the wall. Army officers were seen talking to police officers at the scene.

The Interior Ministry also deployed armored vehicles to the area with crowd control barricades and tear gas canisters, in anticipation of further clashes between protesters and the police forces. There was a brief lull in the clashes at the time after some protesters organized a human shield to separate the two sides.

Earlier in the afternoon, security used tear gas canisters to disperse the demonstrators, while protesters responded with stones and Molotov cocktails.

The two sides threw stones and tear gas canisters at each other. Some protesters suffered from the effects of the tear gas and were taken to the field hospital in Tahrir on motorcycles.
 
They chanted: "The people want to bring down the regime," and  "The Interior [Ministry] are thugs."
 
Some of the protesters set up wooden towers in the square, saying they would use them for surveillance.
 
The demolition of the wall began at dawn, leading to sporadic clashes throughout the morning near the Shura Council on both sides of the concrete barrier.
 
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm