miércoles, 5 de diciembre de 2012

Egypt protest: Morsi advisors resign amidst reports of killings in Cairo violence




Supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi clash with anti-Morsi protesters outside the Egyptian presidential palace on December 5, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)(34.9Mb)embed video

Opposition groups claim two people were killed after supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi clashed outside the presidential palace in Cairo. The escalating tension has reportedly brought three of Morsi's advisors to resign.

RT's correspondent Tom Barton reports "a pandemonium" in front of the Ittihadia presidential palace, where a violent standoff between rival demonstrations continues.

The Health Ministry says at least 63 people were wounded in Wednesday violence across Cairo, while opposition groups claim two people died in the clashes outside Ittihadia.

Thousands of Morsi supporters and opponents attacked each other with petrol bombs, stones and sticks outside the president's residence in Cairo. Gunshots could be heard, reporters said, describing the scene as "a disaster zone."

Security forces had to boost their presence at the scene in a bid to separate the rival parties, but demonstrators continued swarming in from different directions.

At the same time, masked men set fire to the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, who advocate Morsi's recent controversial reforms, reports local Nile TV.

The volatile situation led to the resignation of at least three more advisors to Morsi including Dr. Seif Abdel Fattah, Ayman Sayyad and Amr Leithy.

Watch RT's telephone interview with Wael Eskandar, an Egyptian journalist and blogger, who was caught in Cairo clashes
Earlier on Wednesday, the Muslim Brotherhood called for a rally backing President Morsi in front of the presidential palace, while leftists planned a counter-protest there. Initial reports from the scene suggested that demonstrators were clashing with police. Now it appears the violence flared up after a thousand-strong pro-Morsi column marched into the square where the president's opponents were staging a sit-in and attempted to "cleanse the place."

Muslim Brotherhood supporters destroyed the opposition's tent camp. Security Forces appeared on the scene two hours into the clashes forming human barriers to separate the warring sides, say local media.

Sporadic scuffles in Tahrir Square were also reported.

The violence broke out shortly after President Morsi returned to the palace. Despite the recent developments, Morsi and his office insist the constitutional referendum will proceed as planned on December 15. Egyptian Vice President Mahmoud Mekky said that "the door is open" to amend the disputed articles of the Constitution ahead of the referendum.

“There must be consensus,” Mekky said, expecting a dialogue to begin soon with the opposition to end the crisis.

“The demands of opposition protesters must be respected,” he noted, adding “I am completely confident that if not in the coming hours, in the next few days we will reach a breakthrough in the crisis and consensus.”

The opposition aliance has reportedly turned down Mekky's suggestion unless Morsi’s recent declaration is retracted.
Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi arrive outside the Egyptian presidential palace on December 5, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)
Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi arrive outside the Egyptian presidential palace on December 5, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)

The crisis forced several privately owned TV channels to break a strike to cover the clashes. ONTV, ONTV Live, Dream TV, Dream TV 2, Al-Hayat Network and the CBC network planned a blackout from 6pm to 12am on Wednesday to object to clauses in the draft constitution related to press freedoms. But as the clashes unfolded, the broadcasters resumed transmission, reports Ahram Online daily.
 Supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi clash with anti-Morsi protesters outside the Egyptian presidential palace on December 5, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)
Supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi clash with anti-Morsi protesters outside the Egyptian presidential palace on December 5, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)

On Tuesday, Morsi was forced to flee his residence after violent clashes broke out between demonstrators and police. Around 10,000 demonstrators gathered near Morsi’s palace in Cairo to protest his decree granting his office vastly expanded powers, and a draft constitution that was quickly adopted by his allies.

The demonstrators dubbed their siege "the last warning" demanding the decrees be cancelled.

Violence on Tuesday saw 18 people injured, with police firing tear gas to stop the crowds from assaulting Morsi’s residence. Hundreds of anti-Morsi demonstrators then moved to Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square to spend the night in a tent encampment erected almost two weeks ago.
 Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi destroy tents from anti-Morsi protesters outside the presidential palace on December 5, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi destroy tents from anti-Morsi protesters outside the presidential palace on December 5, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)
Supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi clash with anti-Morsi protesters outside the Egyptian presidential palace on December 5, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)
Supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi clash with anti-Morsi protesters outside the Egyptian presidential palace on December 5, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)

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