In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where hundreds of thousands rallied to
overthrow president Hosni Mubarak early last year, several dozen
of protesters rallied against President Mohammad Mursi on Friday
and briefly clashed with his supporters before
withdrawing, witnesses said.
“Mursi has men backing him,” his victorious partisans chanted.
Four people were injured in the clash, including three with
birdshot wounds, the official MENA news agency quoted a field
medic as saying.
In northern Cairo, about 200 protesters gathered near the
presidency, which Mursi occupied since his inauguration in June,
chanting “down with the Supreme Guide’s rule.”
They were referring to the leader of the influential Muslim
Brotherhood, to which Mursi belongs.
In Tahrir Square, rival groups of youths hurled stones and bottles
at each other, staging running battles in side streets. Some
wielded sticks and charged opponents. Dozens also scuffled in
Ismailiya, east of Cairo, a witness said.
But scenes were quieter in other areas of Cairo where Mursi’s
opponents gathered, and total numbers across the capital and
elsewhere were relatively modest, reaching 2,000 or so rather than
the seas of people who turned to unseat Mubarak or gathered in
other demonstrations since then.
The protests take place as Mursi, who assumed office amid a power
struggle with the once-ruling military, consolidates his authority
while two journalists critical of the president stand trial.
Activists behind the protest accused Mursi of seeking to monopolize
power after he wrested back prerogatives in August that the
military council, which had ruled Egypt for a year and a half
after Mubarak’s fall, had sought to retain for itself.
“Wake up Egyptian people. Don’t fall for the Brotherhood,” said
Mahmoud, in his 50s, addressing about 200 people in Tahrir Square,
according to Reuters. “Egypt is for all Egyptians, not only one
Many now want to give Mursi time to deliver and want to judge him
at the ballot box, not on the street.
“Respectable democratic countries elect a leader and then give him
time to prove himself,” said Sabr Salah, 47, despite not being a
Mursi backer. “We must give Mursi a chance because he won the
election. We can vote him out again next time.”