Update: Protests renew at Media City amid government condemnation

Update: Protests renew at Media City amid government condemnation

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Mon, 25/03/2013 - 15:22

 

Hundreds of Islamist protesters returned to Media Production City Monday to continue surrounding the facilities after earlier leaving the area.

Altercations between protesters and reporters broke out at the city’s fourth gate as 20 Central Security Forces teams and 14 armored vehicles were deployed to secure the facility and employees within.

Salafi former MP Mamdouh Ismail was among those joining the protest, saying that "the sit-in shall be the launch of a wide-scale revolution that would tour all Egyptian squares," he said.

The renewed protests came as the government condemned previous protests that took place at the Media Production City on Sunday. 

Cabinet spokesperson Alaa al-Hadidy said in press statements on Monday that "assaulting city workers and blocking their entry to, and exit from, their workplace is an unacceptable action that is not in line with the right way to voice a different point of view," adding that such actions distort the image of the Egyptian revolution.

 

Eyewitnesses had said that unknown gunmen had fired on the protest early Monday morning before demonstrators dispersed, and prior to Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim’s arrival to visit forces stationed in the area.

Security forces clashed with demonstrators at gate two, using tear gas to disperse them.

Protesters in front of Media Production City had ended their protest on Monday after besieging the city since Sunday, saying they will continue to stage protests to express their objection to the performance of the Egyptian media, according to Al-Hayat 2 channel.

Protesters besieged the area on Sunday to condemn local media, preventing some hosts who were scheduled to appear on air from entering the city, including former MP Alaa Abdel Moneim and television host Hussein Abdel Ghany.

Abdel Ghany, a member of the National Salvation Front, said he was supposed to appear on TV with presenter Reem Maged on ONtv. He said there was no police at the gates and 15 bearded men smashed the car, thinking he was media personality Wael al-Ibrashy.

In a phone-in with Al-Nahar channel on Sunday afternoon, Abdel Ghany said that the protesters smashed the front and rear windows of the car.

Hafez Abu Seda, head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, said the car in which he and Hassan Nafaa, political science professor at Cairo University, were riding was attacked and its windows were broken.

On Twitter, Abu Seda said, "They were close to killing us. They said here comes Hafez Abou Seda, the human rights guy, and they tried to get me out of the car by force, but the driver drove on and they destroyed the car."

Eyewitnesses also said protesters encircled Mohamed Abul Ghar, a member of the National Salvation Front, after he left al-Hayat channel's studios. Protesters apparently stopped his car and almost hit him with a baton.

Additionally, eyewitnesses also reported that media professional Riham al-Sahly’s car was attacked, with protesters breaking the rear window while it was leaving the area.

Most private and independently-owned television channels are based in Media Production City. Islamists have recently lambasted private media that have been very critical of the Muslim Brotherhood, accusing some channels of fomenting violence and being tools of the counter-revolution.