Egypt Independent

Monday’s papers: Clashes continue, and a Black Bloc emerges

“Violence sweeps Suez Canal, Cairo and Alexandria” headlines on the front page of state-owned Al-Akhbar newspaper read.  Two people were shot dead and 312 were injured in Port Said on Sunday during the funerals of 33 people killed there when locals angered by a court decision rioted as anti-government protests spread around the country. 

The Armed Forces vowed to confront “intimidation,” and the spokesperson for the military denied allegations that the army shot any live ammunition against protestors, according to Al-Akhbar.

Privately owned Al-Dostour says that the Navy is warning against attempts to attack the Suez Canal waterway, confirming that the Armed Forces are in control of the Suez Canal major cities in order to secure strategic and vital facilities there.

Al-Gomhurriya’s headline points to President Mohamed Morsy’s “consultations” with other political powers to try and end the crisis. The violence has uncovered a deep split in the country, as opponents accuse Morsy of failing to deliver any serious economic solutions for the struggling economy and say he has not lived up to pledges to stand for all Egyptians. His backers say the opposition is seeking to topple Egypt's first freely elected leader.

Closed sources to the president say that Morsy has refused to launch a wide arrest campaign to stop the violence, confirming that dialogue is the ‘only real way to end the predicament’, according to Al-Gomhurriya’s front page.

Meanwhile, state-owned Al-Ahram brings to light the confrontations that took place on Qasr al-Nil Bridge and Haram Street, as well as Molotov attacks on the Semiramis Intercontinental and Shepheard Hotels downtown.

Youm7 reports that the American and the British embassies have suspended work at all departments, including visas, due to the violent incidents and security vacuum in the area surrounding Tahrir Square.

Al-Shorouk’s front page reviews yesterday’s incidents in Port Said, Suez, Ismailia, Cairo and the Delta, highlighting the chaos, violence, and the confrontations between the police forces and the protestors that are spreading to other governorates across Egypt. 

According to the privately owned newspaper, the Ultras Ahlawy are promising retaliation to the Ministry of the Interior and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Leaders of the group confirm that they will continue their campaign “Ehshed” until justice is served and all of those involved in the Port Said massacre are convicted.

Al-Shorouk Editor-in-Chief Emad Eddin Hussein writes in his opinion column about the Black Bloc group, which is also dubbed the “Revolutionary Guards,” saying that the group appeared as a reaction to the armed militias of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi political groups.

“We have to remember that the military parade conducted by Hazemoun and other Islamists were the direct motivation for other armed groups, such as the Black Bloc, to emerge,” he writes. 

Privately owned Sawt al-Umma echoes such sentiments on its front page, with the headline “Ultras and Black Bloc are revolutionary militia challenging Ikhwan division no. 27.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Information Salah Abdel Maqsoud denies in Al-Akhbar that there are any armed extremist groups in Egypt, saying that there are no “top secret” reports from Prime Minister Hesham Qandil to Morsy about any well trained and well equipped armed extremist groups that have recently entered Egypt.

In Cairo, newly appointed Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim was driven out of the funeral of one of the police officers, who died during Saturday's clashes in Port Said, according to Al-Ahram.

Al-Dostour newspaper says that police officers at the funeral blame Ibrahim for the deaths of at least two policemen during Saturday's clashes, as he did not allow the police to carry weapons and only gave them tear gas.

On the same page, the newspaper draws attention to Finance Minister Morsy Hegazy’s refusal to reveal the new budget for the Interior Ministry budget or the financial allocation needed to arm the police forces.

Al-Ahram points to the Shura Council demanding a riot act and discussing giving the military judicial powers in Suez Canal cities to establish security.

Al-Shorouk and Al-Dostour also report that 28 January is the second anniversary of the “Friday of Anger,” and say that several groups will march to the Shura Council to conduct funeral prayers.

On the economic side, the stock exchange lost LE2.7 billion yesterday after extensive sales, according to Al Ahram.

The dollar exchange rate increased to 725 piasters over the past several days, as Al-Akhbar reports, which pushed the Central Bank to offer US$75 million at a forex auction to try to stop a rapid pound devaluation. Prices of the dollar were fixed at 662 piasters to buy at banks.

Egypt’s papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Al-Sabah: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party