Thursday, December 6, 2012

Egypt: Street fights at the steps of the Presidential Palace

By Amnesty International’s Egypt team

"When he took office just a few months ago Mohamed Morsi promised to be the president of all Egyptians.
But hopes that he would take steps to resolve the current situation and give up the wide-ranging powers that triggered this latest crisis have been dashed after a bitter and bloody night of clashes between the president’s opponents and supporters.
The clashes followed an attack by the president’s supporters – believed to be largely made up of members of the Muslim Brotherhood – on a sit-in staged by his opponents outside the Presidential Palace in Heliopolis.
Sahar Mohamed Talaat, a Radio France International worker, was attacked by pro-Morsi men in plain clothes who punched and kicked her on the ground and beat her with batons.
As a result she suffered bruises to the back and chest and potentially a fractured nose. Several female activists were also reportedly beaten or slapped in the clashes.....

Yet despite Tuesday’s massive peaceful protest and last night’s violent unrest, there is no sign that the authorities are prepared to take steps to calm the situation, or to avoid further confrontation.
Instead, the vice-president has announced they are preparing to press ahead with a constitutional referendum on 15 December, a move likely to increase tensions further.
Today, the presidential guards’ tanks are back on the streets of Cairo. The army has been deployed outside the presidential palace, an ominous and deeply worrying sign of things to come. Few expected this crisis to be resolved quickly.
But the authorities have not given any indication that they are willing to budge at all, and, today, the divisions seem more entrenched than ever.
More anti-Morsi marches were organized today to the Presidential palace in reaction to the events yesterday, while further mobilization is expected on Friday."

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