- Middle East/North Africa
Angry demonstrations took place in governorates outside of Cairo Wednesday, with polarization between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsy escalating into violent clashes in Alexandria, Suez and Mahalla, and attempts to burn Muslim Brotherhood headquarters across the nation.
Dozens stormed the Muslim Brotherhood office in the city of Ismailia, Ismailia Governorate, Wednesday night. After a march in the city, protesters against the clashes at the presidential palace in Cairo set the office ablaze.
The protest consisted of different revolutionary groups and political parties who chanted slogans calling for “toppling the regime.”
Also in Zagazig, the capital of the Nile Delta governorate of Sharqiya, anonymous attackers threw Molotov cocktails at the group’s office. Only the banner of the office and two cars were burnt before firefighters extinguished the fire.
Mohamed Abdel Raouf, a former FJP parliamentarian, said that the attempt to burn the office came after dozens of anti-Morsy protesters marched by the office.
In Alexandria, Muslim Brotherhood protesters clashed with anti-Morsy protesters near the railway station of Sidi Gaber.
Some 3,000 from the Brotherhood started a march at Al-Qaed Ibrahim mosque heading to Sidi Gaber area, where 4,000 of Morsy opponents were gathered.
Security forces withdraw completely from the scene, after the Brotherhood protesters chanted slogans against them.
The anti-Morsy activists blocked the road, causing traffic jams. Protesters denounced what they called “Brotherhood militias” for attacking the protesters and removing their tents from outside the presidential palace in Cairo.
Ayman Mahmoud, a protester, told the website of the state-run daily Al-Ahram that the Egyptian people would not accept the Brotherhood militias controlling power in Egypt. “They beat the protesters with bladed weapons and firearms,” he said.
Ahmed Ali, activist participating in the protest, urged the state agencies to protect the protesters from the Brotherhood militias and save the country from a possible civil war.
Fire gutted the Suez headquarters of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, as a result of clashes between members of the party and the Brotherhood and opponents of Morsy. The building was entirely destroyed by the fire.
The clashes started with both sides throwing stones at each other, injuring eight people.
In Damanhour, capital of Beheira governorate, demonstrations were also held to reject the Constitutional Declaration and protest President Morsy ignoring the crisis outside the presidential palace in Cairo, where the Brotherhood attacked protesters.
The demonstrators demanded Morsy to stop or postpone the referendum on the draft constitution scheduled on 15 December.
Both parties exchanged hurling stones, while anti-Morsy protesters accused members of the Muslim Brotherhood group of assaulting protesters at the presidential palace.
The police intensified presence in the vicinity of the party headquarters, which were dark and empty, and the protesters refused to move the demonstration elsewhere.
In Mahalla, trains coming from and going to Alexandria were stopped when demonstrators lit rubber tires on the railway tracks in protest against the clashes.
The demonstrators chanted slogans against President Mohamed Morsy, the Muslim Brotherhood and the supreme guide, and demanded the cancellation of Morsy’s recent decisions.
Edited translation from MENA