Over 200 injured as Morsi supporters, opponents clash north of Cairo

At least two people were killed and over 200 wounded as hundreds of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's supporters and opponents clashed in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, the Ministry Of Health confirmed.

More than 5,000 members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties staged a demonstration in Mansoura under the name “No to violence, Yes to Legitimacy” in support of Morsi.

In street clashes that ensued, three shops were destroyed and four cars damaged as the Islamists met their opponents – the Tamarod campaign, the Popular Current, and the Constitution Party, local media said. Molotov cocktails and tasers were reportedly used in the violence; witnesses also heard gunfire.  

Abdel-Hamid Rashed, a member of the Popular Current, one of the opposition groups, told The Daily News Egypt that the violence was started by Islamists who were carrying shotguns and sticks, prompting local residents to retaliate. 

The local Freedom and Justice Party department claimed their pro-Morsi rally was attacked by “thugs” who fired birdshot at them and brandished other weapons. “Dozens have been taken to the Mansoura International Hospital with serious, minor and birdshot injuries,” their statement read.

Clashes were also reported in nearby Tanta, where according to Twitter reports dozens were hurt.

The violence comes just hours before Morsi addressed the nation in Cairo. In his speech, while acknowledging that some errors had been made, the Egyptian leader also pointed towards unspecified "enemies of Egypt" for sabotage of the country’s young democratic system. "Political polarisation and conflict has reached a stage that threatens our nascent democratic experience and threatens to put the whole nation in a state of paralysis and chaos," said Morsi.

Several major opposition rallies are expected over the weekend, and some fear they could also turn violent.

The army has warned that it may take charge again if the situation spins out of control. Defenses around important public buildings have been beefed up and police and the military are preparing to contain any trouble that may occur.

Meanwhile, many of Egypt’s citizens have begun stockpiling food, and long queues are forming outside petrol stations. Most Egyptians are angry at decreased living standards and fear a return to the chaos of two years ago.