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