Egypt: Clashes Erupt During Anti-Morsi Protest in Cairo

August 24, 2012  

Hundreds of Egyptians hit the streets on Friday, to demonstrate against President Mohammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood. It was the first and most significant anti-Morsi rally since he was elected.

The biggest demonstration took place in Tahrir Square in the capital Cairo, where Morsi’s opponents, who are mostly from Egypt’s liberal stream, clashed with his supporters.

According to reports in Egypt, the sides began throwing stones and other objects at one another. It was also reported that security forces intervened and arrested some participants.

Demonstrations against Morsi were also held in several other cities in Egypt, but no violent incidents were recorded outside of Cairo. The protesters claimed that Morsi is trying to monopolize and centralize authority in Egypt and shouted, “Do not let one group to take over all of Egypt.”

The reason for the demonstrations against Morsi is his recent decision to cancel the changes in the constitution which gave broad powers to the army. Morsi announced the cancellation when he sacked the entire leadership of the country’s defense establishment, including Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Anan.

Morsi’s move was criticized by his opponents. It was later speculated that Morsi’s decision to fire Tantawi and Anan was due to the fact that the two were planning a coup against him.

He reportedly fired the two men in order to take preventive measures, after receiving a request from several senior military officers, led by new Defense Minister Abdul-Fatah al-Sissi, who told him that Tantawi and Anan were planning to rob him of some of his authorities as president.

Al-Sissi and the officers claimed that the army intends to turn a planned million man protest, scheduled for next Friday, into a huge show of force against the Muslim Brotherhood. Thus, they said, the army planned to hurt Morsi.

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