Heavy clashes in Cairo

At least 22 people were injured in violence which has rendered Egypt into a state of lawlessness.

Egyptian supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood rallying in support of deposed president Mohamed Morsi clash with police outside the elite Republican Guards base in Cairo early on July 8, 2013.  Picture: AFP /Mahmoud Khaled

CAIRO - Egyptian police and protesters clashed in central Cairo early on Tuesday after fights broke out between supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and locals angered when they tried to block major thoroughfares crossing the River Nile.

The state news agency said at least 22 people were injured in the violence, which began just after 9 pm on Monday and lasted into the early hours of Tuesday.

The clashes were smaller and more localised than the earlier deadly unrest since Mursi was deposed by the military on July 3, and most of Cairo was unaffected.

Young men, with their mouths covered to protect them from tear gas, threw stones at police and shouted pro-Mursi and anti-military slogans, as well as "Allahu Akbar!" (God is greatest).

Military helicopters hovered overhead and police vans were brought in to quell the trouble, but when that didn't work, dozens of riot police moved in. Medics treated men with deep gashes to their eyes and faces nearby.

Millions of Egyptians seem to have had enough of the on-going unrest after Mursi's resignation on June 30. The military said it deposed him to fulfil the wish of the people but Muslim Brotherhood movement said it was a coup.

"It's the army against the people, these are our soldiers…The army is killing our brothers, you are meant to defend me and you are attacking me." said Alaa el-Din, a 34-year-old computer engineer.

Egypt has become increasingly polarised by the crisis, but one thing the two sides share is a deep mistrust of the United States and its perceived role in the unrest.


US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told reporters in Cairo that Washington had no desire to meddle in Egypt, which it supports with $1.5 billion in aid each year, most of which goes to the military and remains tight-lipped about its views regarding Mursi's removal.

The Islamist Nour Party and the Tamarud anti-Mursi protest movement both said they turned down invitations to meet Burns.

At least 92 people were killed in the days after Mursi was toppled, more than half of them shot by troops outside the Republican Guard compound on July 8. Protests since then had been tense but peaceful until Monday night.

The political turmoil and unrest in major cities has also fuelled violence in Egypt's lawless North Sinai province bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.


Mursi is being held incommunicado at an undisclosed location. He has not been charged with a crime but the authorities say they are investigating him over complaints of inciting violence, spying and wrecking the economy.

Top Brotherhood figures have also been charged with inciting violence, but have not been arrested and are still at large. The public prosecutors' office announced new charges against seven Brotherhood and Islamist leaders on Monday.

Interim President Adli Mansour and his Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi head a transitional cabinet full of technocrats that is paving the way for parliamentary elections in around six months, in a bid to restore civilian rule.

The new planning minister, Ashraf al-Arabi, said the Arab money would be enough to sustain Egypt through its transition period and it did not need to restart talks with the International Monetary Fund.