The Muslim Brotherhood said Thursday that it has the right to defend its headquarters in Moqattam against attacks by protesters opposed to its group.
At a press conference held at the Grand Nile Tower hotel on the Nile Corniche in Garden City, the Brotherhood's Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein said, "We do not start fights but we will not allow anyone to attack our headquarters."
Hussein said the protesters that descended on the Brotherhood headquarters Saturday deliberately provoked and insulted youth members protecting the building. He added that the protesters had carried knives, sticks and Molotov cocktails. "We will hold those who committed violations accountable," he said.
Hussein also refused to apologize for the clashes, despite the fact that several protesters and journalists were injured.
"Why apologise?” he asked. "There is a group that attacked the Brotherhood headquarters and another that was covering the events. To the first group, we owe no apology. If investigations, judicial or internal, prove we have wronged the second group, we will apologize — so far it has not been proven who sparked the clashes."
Proceedings at the conference were interrupted by a heated argument between Brotherhood leaders and some reporters. The journalists accused the Brotherhood of bias for only showing footage of one of its members being attacked.
The reporters said it was unfair not to show other video, including widely circulated footage of alleged Brotherhood members slapping female protesters as well as shots of Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater’s personal guard beating reporters.
Journalists began chanting "Down with the rule of the Supreme Guide" and called for the screening of other videos showing reporters being assaulted at the hands of Brotherhood members.
Earlier Hussein had accused media of "neglecting the fact that it was [reporters and protesters] who came to Moqattam, insulted and provoked [members of the Brotherhood] and then attacked the headquarters and the police with bombs, Molotovs cocktails and birdshot.
"Nevertheless, we pledge to investigate and if we find the building guards committed violations, we will hold them responsible."
The leader condemned calls for a new protest at the headquarters Friday, saying, "Now they are calling for people to go to the headquarters on Friday to continue their assault."
Hussein said the police are responsible for protecting the Brotherhood headquarters, but said the group would step in if security forces failed in their task.
Ahmed Aref, the group's spokesperson took a less provocative tone and said, "I respect reporters and I admit that those I have dealt with are well-mannered and serious in their coverage of the group's news.
"We are not enemies of the profession or professional reporters… the Brotherhood does not accept insult to any reporter… If there were violations or insults during the clashes, the matter is now in the hands of the judiciary."
Edited translation from MENA