Update: Clashes rekindle at presidential palace amid heavy teargas

Confrontations between police and protesters flared up again late Monday night at the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace amid an intensive barrage of teargas.

Several ambulances were deployed to the scene to administer aid to protesters suffering from respiratory distress.

Traffic was severely backed up on Al-Khalifa al-Ma’moun Street as demonstrators fled from security forces.

The clashes refueled after the Interior Ministry sent additional troops to the  in an attempt to restore order after demonstrations marking the second anniversary of Mubarak’s fall turned violent.

The protests began peacefully, but clashes broke out around 7:45 pm when demonstrators attempted to breach the barbed wire barriers in front of the palace, said the ministry’s media spokesperson.

Protesters who marched on the palace earlier today hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at police officers, who responded with water cannons and teargas, reported Egypt Independent. Six armored personnel carriers were seen shooting a barrage of teargas into the crowd, and police officers began chasing protesters down side streets in the area.
Eyewitnesses said masked protesters then set up a barricade and shot fireworks at the security forces, throwing teargas canisters back at them.

When the clashes began, police officers initially used megaphones to entreat the demonstrators to remain peaceful. When protesters were seen dismantling the barbed-wire fences outside the palace’s main gate, which was partially set ablaze, security forces began shooting water cannons and firing blank shots into the air, Egypt Independent said.

Dozens had marched from Nour Mosque in Abbasseya to the presidential palace earlier this evening. Demonstrators chanted slogans against President Mohamed Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood. Due to the low turnout, traffic was not disrupted.

The palace has become the site of frequent clashes since violence broke out during demonstrations commemorating the second anniversary of the 25 January uprising last month. Two weeks ago, a video showing police officers stripping, beating and dragging a protester along the ground went viral. 

Several political and revolutionary forces had called for marches on Monday from Mostafa Mahmoud Square, Sayeda Zeinab, Shubra, the Fathi Mosque, the Raba’a al-Adaweya Mosque and Nour Mosque to demand the dismissal of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil’s government, the amendment of the Constitution, accountability for the deaths of protesters and early presidential elections.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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