Monday’s papers: Trouble in Moqattam

As clashes that started Saturday between protesters and Muslim Brotherhood supporters in front of the Brotherhood’s main headquarters in Moqattam were renewed for the second day, Monday’s newspapers unsurprisingly allocate blame and responsibility differently.

While some papers portray the clashes as an attack by Brotherhood supporters on innocent protesters, others describe an unwarranted attack by protesters on private property.

Opposition Al-Tahrir newspaper reports that “Brotherhood militias” and security forces protecting the Brotherhood’s headquarters collaborated against protesters who had gathered there on Saturday and attacked them with Molotov cocktails, shotguns and trucks.

Its coverage focuses on the scene caught on camera of an armed man slapping a female protester on the face, knocking her to the ground. Al-Tahrir interviews her, and she recounts being attacked by armed men as she was writing anti-Brotherhood slogans around the group’s main headquarters, along with dozens of other activists.

Similarly, Al-Watan newspaper writes on its front page “the militias of the Brotherhood burn up Moqattam and our military chases Hamas.”

The paper reports that activists and civil society were angered by the attack on the protesters, in addition to the arrest of many journalists who were covering the clashes.

Dubbing the clashes “the incident of the slap,” the paper writes that activists have called for a protest next Friday under the slogan “regaining dignity” in front of the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau, also referred to as the headquarters, against the attack on protesters. 

With accusations in recent days of Hamas involvement in the summer 2012 attack on a checkpoint that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, Hamas has been a focus of the Egyptian press over the past week. Al Watan reports that the military has captured 10 members of Hamas and after finding fabrics used for military uniforms being smuggled through the Rafah-Gaza tunnels, has decided to change its uniform.

The paper, which is also in the middle of its own fight against unknown assailants who attacked the paper’s headquarters last week, reports that the initial investigations revealed that the culprits “belong to a certain political current.”

While Al-Watan insinuates a relation between Hamas and the ongoing Moqattam clashes by putting them in the same headline, Al-Wafd newspaper directly accuses Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, of causing the clashes.

The paper reports that Meshaal was in a meeting with the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau to bury evidence of the involvement of the military wing of Hamas, the Qassam Brigades, in the killing of Egyptian soldiers on the borders.

After news of an assault on six journalists during the events in addition to the arrest of at least two, journalists responded with protests, the paper reports.

With the headline “The Guidance Bureau in the line of rage,” independent Al-Shorouk describes angry reactions to the attack on protesters even from Islamic parties typically aligned with the Brotherhood.

Members of the Salafi Construction and Development party, the political arm of Jama’a Islamiyya, condemns the attack on protesters as well as the writing of profane words on the walls of the headquarters, the paper reports.

Mostafa Ghonemy, member of the Guidance Bureau, however, told the paper that the Brotherhood youth were provoked by rock throwing and insulting language from protesters to “protect their house.”

The Brotherhood mouthpiece, the Freedom and Justice newspaper announces on its front page that the Brotherhood will file a complaint to the general prosecutor about the attack on its headquarters.

Arguing that those portrayed as victims are the real aggressors, the paper writes “He curses, incites, dances, burns, throws Molotov cocktails on the Guidance Bureau then he screams the Brotherhood beat me up.”

In what seems to be a contradictory statement, Mahmoud Ghozlan, the group’s spokesperson is quoted saying “protecting buildings is the responsibility of the police,” then adding, “we will not allow our buildings to be touched again.”

The paper also confirms that the Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie met with Meshaal, reporting that the discussions were not about last year’s checkpoint attack, but the Palestinian cause.

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

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