Clashes erupt on Egypt’s Tahrir Square, at least 12 injured (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
Supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi are battling for control of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the recent revolution. At least a dozen people are reported injured as stones and fists continue to fly.
Gunshots were also heard during the melee downtown Cairo, an Al Arabiya correspondent said.
The Head of Mounira Public Hospital Mohamed Shawky said Friday afternoon that the hospital has received at least ten injured protesters, The Egypt Independent reports. One man was hospitalized after receiving a serious eye injury, while 9 others were treated for minor wounds and later released.
Eyewitnesses on the scene said many of the injured had been pelted with rocks.
Some 2,000 people poured onto the square on Friday after tensions erupted between pro and anti-Morsi forces following a court ruled to acquit Mubarak-era officials accused of ordering a camel charge against protesters during last year’s uprising.
The February 2011 incident known as the “Camel Battle” left nearly a dozen people dead.
The so-called “Judgement Day” protest on the square had originally been organized by left-leaning activists hoping to draw attention to their disaffection with President Morsi and the Constituent Assembly. Islamists arrived to protest the contentious “Camel Battle” ruling which saw 24 figures in the Mubarak regime set free.
While all sides to the conflict were united in their opposition to the acquittal in one of the bloodiest incidents in the 2011 revolution to topple the Mubarak regime, long simmering tensions between the rival parties quickly spilled over.
The coalition of liberals and secular-minded groups were particularly concerned with Islamist control of the body drafting the country’s new constitution.
Fighting commenced after supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood tore down a podium belonging to a group that was chanting anti-Mursi slogan, Agence France Presse reported.
“Down, down with rule by the guide,” Morsi’s detractors chanted in reference to Mohammed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi officially resigned from the Brotherhood upon assuming office, but his opponents believe that Badie maintains control over the president.
On Friday Morsi was in Egypt’s second largest city, Alexandria, where he vowed that the former regime figures would be held accountable despite Wednesday’s ruling.
Morsi moved to dismiss the country’s prosecutor general – a Mubarak appointee – following the controversial verdict. The prosecutor, Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud refused to resign and accept an offer to be Egypt’s envoy at the Vatican.
Following Friday’s altercations on Tahrir Square, the April 6 movement, which played a key role in ousting Mubarak from power, said its supporters would march on the prosecutor’s office.