Protesters outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo supporting the Egyptian military's crackdown on international pro-democracy groups clashed Friday with demonstrators rallying against the country's military leadership. Dozens of people were injured.Essentially, the Egyptian army joined the riots on the side of the pro-military protesters.
The issue of the pro-democracy groups has been at the center of one of the most divisive chapters of U.S.-Egyptian relations in recent decades.
Egyptian officials alleged the groups were using foreign funding to foment unrest in Egypt and were pursuing a legal case against dozens of defendants, including 16 Americans. Relations improved somewhat when Egypt allowed the American defendants to leave the country, effectively letting them avoid trial.
But the decision to lift the travel ban incited a backlash among many Egyptians who accused the country's ruling generals of bowing to U.S. pressure and meddling in what is supposed to be an independent judiciary.
The pro-military protest was led by Tawfiq Okasha, a staunch loyalist to the military leadership and a well-known TV presenter whose daily show has been banned for airing insults against pro-democracy activists. Okasha has repeatedly accused activists of receiving foreign funds to destabilize the country.
Witnesses said the clashes began when pro-military supporters began throwing rocks at anti-military protesters who were marching to the nearby Tahrir Square. Dozens wounded in the clashes, according to Egypt's Middle East News Agency.
As people ran from the scene, Egyptian troops first tried to separate the stone-throwers but also threw rocks at the protesters, witnesses said.
Here's video from Daily News Egypt: