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Friday, October 12, 2012

Spring again: New riots in Tahrir Square

Molotov cocktails at Tahrir Square, today

From Al-Ahram:
Hundreds have been hospitalised during clashes between rival protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday, with pro and anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators locking horns.

Tensions were alleviated after the Brotherhood supporters started to leave by the afternoon. An Ahram Online reporter, however, said that two the Islamic group's empty buses were set alight.

Secular groups, who remain in the Square up till press time following the departure of the Brotherhood supporters, took to the square for 'Accountability Friday' primarily to demand a more representative Constituent Assembly.

On the other hand, the Brotherhood supporters, who came from different governerates, were there to condemn Wednesday's acquittal of former regime figures accused of orchestrating the Battle of the Camel during the Egyptian Revolution.

Omar Rashid, the ambulance field supervisor in Tahrir Square, confirmed to Ahram Online reporter that hundreds had been hospitalised by late afternoon, mostly with head injuries. "Hundreds more suffered minor injuries," he added.

A number of people were shot with pellets by unknown assailants on Talaat Harb Street, an Ahram Online correspondent at the scene reported, while Molotov cocktails and rocks were being thrown in both Mohamed Mahmoud Street and Talaat Harb Street near Tahrir Square.

Clashes began in the early afternoon when some protesters began chanting against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi. They were attacked with stones in response and a stage belonging to Hamdeen Sabbahi's Popular Current was destroyed.

"Those who destroyed the stage are chanting for Morsi and beating up whoever chants against him," Mohamed Waked, a leading member of the National Front for Justice and Democracy, said via Twitter.

Security forces were absent from the square and the surrounding streets all day, an Ahram Online reporter confirmed.

"If Mubarak was a dictator, what is happening now means Morsi a "sacred' dictator," Iskander added.

"Our members haven’t attacked anyone, the people fighting are supporters of the president," Brotherhood spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan said.
Pro-government rioters being sent to shoot at anti-government protesters? Security forces nowhere to be found? Hundreds of injuries?

It all seems so familiar somehow....