Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Protesters, Egyptian forces clash

Demonstrators target presidential palace

  • Print

CAIRO, Egypt -- Egyptian security forces backed by water cannons fired tear gas at rock-throwing protesters outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Friday, while demonstrators clashed with riot police in cities across the country in marches against Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

The protests are part of a wave of opposition-led demonstrations during the past two weeks that have frequently devolved into street clashes. The violence has left more than 70 people dead and hundreds wounded and plunged the country into a fresh cycle of bloodshed and political turmoil.

Egypt's opposition is demanding Morsi form a new coalition government, open an investigation into the killings of protesters during the past months and give guarantees upcoming parliamentary elections will be fair and free. They also want him to form a commission to amend the country's newly adopted constitution, which was drafted by an Islamist-led panel and approved last December in a contentious referendum.

Some of the protesters go even further, demanding Morsi be removed from office. They also accuse the Muslim Brotherhood, the fundamentalist group from which Morsi hails, of monopolizing power and failing to deal with the country's mounting woes.

Thousands took their demands to the streets in cities across the country on Friday, carrying Egyptian flags and pictures of slain protesters and chanting "down with the rule of the Guide," referring to Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, who critics allege is calling the shots for Morsi from behind the scenes.

At the presidential palace in Cairo, the scene of repeated violent clashes since late last year, protesters tried to remove the barbed wire at the front gate of the palace and fired flares at its perimeters. Riot police swiftly responded with water cannons and tear gas while protesters hurled stones.

Violence also broke out in Kafr el-Sheik, some 180 kilometres north of Cairo, where riot police clashed with protesters in front of the office of governor Saad el-Husseini, who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, protesters tore down a Brotherhood sign and burned it in front of the group's office while security forces used tear gas to disperse demonstrators in front of the governor's office.

Morsi and his allies accuse the opposition of trying to incite street violence to seize power after failing at the ballot box.

In a statement on Friday, Murad Ali, a spokesman for the Freedom and Justice party -- the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm -- warned the opposition it would be responsible for any acts of violence that occur during protests. He also called them "losers."

The clashes during the past two weeks have fuelled a sense Egypt is coming unglued, while also raising concerns the country could be hit by more -- and greater -- political violence.

Those worries sharpened after the assassination of a prominent anti-Islamist opposition leader in Tunisia on Wednesday, a killing that touched off a new wave of unrest there.

Tunisia was the birthplace of the region's so-called Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 that brought an end to the rule of several autocrats including Egypt's own Hosni Mubarak, clearing the way for Morsi's election last summer. Egyptians have warily watched the events unfolding in Tunis, which many here look to as a bellwether for their own country.

Much of the public anxiety in Egypt following the killing in Tunis stems from religious edicts, known as fatwas, recently issued by extremist clerics calling for the killing of Morsi's political opponents.

Egypt's leading democracy advocate and opposition leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, sounded the alarm this week about the edicts.

The opposition says it will continue protests despite the fatwas, which the presidency and the government condemned as "terrorism." Morsi called the rhetoric "hate speech cloaked by religion."

Hamdeen Sabahi, a leader of the opposition National Salvation Front, said in a message posted on his Twitter account: "We will continue our peaceful struggle with the Egyptian people and revolutionary youth to continue our revolution."


-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 9, 2013 A22

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets players discuss outcome of Game 3 and hopes for Game 4

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • An American White Pelican takes flight from the banks of the Red River in Lockport, MB. A group of pelicans is referred to as a ‘pod’ and the American White Pelican is the only pelican species to have a horn on its bill. May 16, 2012. SARAH O. SWENSON / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos


What do you think of the government's announcement that there will be no balanced provincial budget until 2018?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google