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Clashes break out in Alexandria, Egypt's second city at Islamist demonstration

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  • Cort Greene
    Sources: Morsi to announce remaining Shura Council members Friday
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 21, 2012
      Sources: Morsi to announce remaining Shura Council members Friday
      Official sources say that President Morsi wants to transfer his legislative
      powers to the Shura Council before People's Assembly elections

      Egypt's outgoing Constituent Assembly holds debate without
      A debate over Egypt's draft constitution is held without the presence of
      opposition figures, who regard the session as 'useless'


      UPDATE 3: Islamist rally turns violent outside Alexandria mosque
      Ahram Online and MENA, Friday 21 Dec 2012

      Clashes break out in Egypt's second city at Islamist demonstration, as
      rival groups throw stones; security forces fire teargas into crowds to
      separate two sides

      Clashes erupted shortly after several thousand demonstrators gathered at
      Alexandria's Qaed Ibrahim Mosque Friday to "defend [Islamic] scholars and
      mosques," and to call for Sharia (Islamic law).

      After two hours of street battles, the vicinity of the mosque was mostly
      cleared for a while before confrontations broke out once again in
      surrounding streets. Several vehicles were set on fire.

      The rally, which was initially peaceful after Friday noon prayers, turned
      violent when clashes broke out between Islamist demonstrators and rival
      opposition group.

      According to media reports, clashes seem to have been kicked off after
      opposition protesters picked a fight with one of the Islamist

      Central Security Forces (CSF), who were heavily deployed early Friday near
      the rallying point as a pre-emptive measure against possible violence,
      worked to restore order and keep both camps away from each other.

      Rounds of teargas were repeatedly fired into the crowds, forcing people
      onto the Corniche near the mosque.

      Tens of fire engines and ambulances were situated in the area, according to
      Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website.

      The health ministry released an initial injury toll of 32. More are
      expected to have been injured as the confrontations continued for hours
      afterwards. State news agency MENA confirmed that people from both sides
      have been injured.

      Al-Ahram's Arabic site reported that the by dusk, Islamist protesters were
      forced to hide inside the nearby Miri Hospital after being chased by their
      opponents, who tried to follow them but were bombarded by CSF with teargas.

      Meanwhile, other Islamists came from the Corniche, seeking to support their
      colleges but were stopped by CSF who are still unable to contain the

      Before violence marred the occasion, organizers of the Islamist rally set
      up stages and were leading religious chants. Checkpoints were also set up
      around the rally to search protesters before joining.

      "The people want the implementation of God's Sharia," the crowds say, "we
      sacrifice our soul and our blood for Islam."

      The protest comes after iconic Alexandria Sheikh Ahmed El-Mahalawy was held
      captive inside the mosque for 14 hours last Friday by worshippers angered
      by the overt Islamist rhetoric in his sermon.

      El-Mahalawy demanded worshippers seek the implementation of Sharia (Islamic
      law) ahead of the referendum's first round, which was regarded as a call to
      vote 'Yes' for the constitution.

      Over 20 people were injured last Friday in the ensuing confrontations and a
      few vehicles were set alight.

      The Islamist forces blamed the liberal Constitution Party, headed by
      opposition figure and former IAEA chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, and former
      presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi's opposition platform, the Egyptian
      Popular Current, for spearheading the attacks on the mosque.

      The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist Calling, along with their
      respective political wings, the Freedom and Justice Party and the Nour
      Party, announced their participation in today's demonstration alongside
      other Islamist groups.

      The Brotherhood statement reads that the rally would be in "response to the
      attacks by the militias of the Popular Current and the Constitution Party
      on the Qaed Ibrahim Mosque, which kept Sheikh El-Mahalawy under siege for
      more than 14 hours inside the mosque, and the attempts to assault more than
      100 worshippers, including women and children."

      The ageing El-Mahalawy also delivered this Friday's sermon, reiterating
      that his supporters are capable of protecting the mosque but would rather
      state authorities do the job.

      The 87-year-old stated that last weekend's "assailants are actually the
      victims of those who pay people to sow discord, they are the real
      criminals� the same people also wanted to postpone the referendum."

      The second and final phase of the constitutional referendum takes place on
      Saturday, when the remaining 17 governorates will take to the polls.

      The first phase of the referendum saw around 57 per cent vote in favour of
      the contentious national charter, according to unofficial results.


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