Egypt on Friday formally detained Mohamed Mursi for allegedly abetting Palestinian militants in murdering policemen and staging prison breaks, as clashes between the deposed leader’s supporters and opponents killed two people.
Mursi’s detention, under a court order for a renewable 15 days, further raised tensions as those applauding the decision and those demanding the Islamist leader’s reinstatement flooded parts of Cairo and other cities.
Two people were killed in Alexandria in clashes between rival protesters, despite a massive police and military deployment to secure the rallies. At least 19 others were wounded in the violence, in which riot police intervened. Ten people were wounded in clashes in Cairo, medical officials and the health ministry said.
The overwhelming number of Friday’s marches have remained peaceful, with thousands of Mursi’s supporters gathering in a north Cairo square before setting off through the streets.
At Cairo’s Tahrir Square, tens of thousands of anti-Mursi supporters gathered in response to a call by the army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Egyptians to show their support for a security clampdown on “terrorism”.
The protesters waved Egyptian flags and held up posters of Sisi, who served as Mursi’s defence minister before ousting him.
A leader of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, Essam al Erian, said they would respond to the detention of their leader with ‘peaceful marches’. The Brotherhood however reacted angrily to his detention order, saying it smacked of tactics used by the regime of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s long-time strongman toppled in a popular uprising in 2011.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.