Thousands of pro and anti Morsi protestors once again take to the streets in Egypt as angry clashes continue into a third day
An vocal throng gathered outside a mosque for funeral of two fundamentalist group members killed during Wednesday's clashes
Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets after midday prayers today to take part in rival rallies and marches across Cairo
16:37 GMT, 7 December 2012
Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets after midday prayers in rival rallies and marches across Cairo today, as the standoff deepened over what opponents call the Islamist president's power grab, raising the specter of more violence.
This morning, thousands of
Brotherhood members gathered in Cairo outside the mosque of Al-Azhar,
Egypt's most respected Islamic institution, for the funeral of two
members of the fundamentalist group who were killed during Wednesday's
During the funeral, thousands
Islamist mourners chanted, 'with blood and soul, we redeem Islam,'
pumping their fists in the air.
Egyptian supporters of Muslim Brotherhood carry the coffins of members of the group who were killed in clashes with Egyptian opposition protesters, during their funeral today
'Egypt is Islamic, it will not be
secular, it will not be liberal,' they chanted as they walked in a
funeral procession that filled streets around Al-Azhar mosque.
Ultraconservative Islamists known as Salafis are organizing their own
rally Friday against what they say is biased coverage of the crisis by
private Egyptian satellite TV channels.
Speaking outside his palace President Mohammed Morsi gave a fiery speech denouncing his opponents, deepening the crisis. The opposition turned down his appeal for talks, saying the president had not fulfilled their conditions for beginning negotiations.
Protesters are demanding that Morsi rescind decrees that give him almost absolute power and push an Islamist-friendly constitution to a referendum on December 15.
The coffins were carried from Al-Azhar mosque, in Cairo – supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi had clashed earlier this week in front of the city's presidential palace
Patriotically waving national flags, thousands gathered for another protest against the President's regime as the coffins were carried to the burial site
Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets today after midday prayers in rival rallies and marches across Cairo, as the standoff deepened over what opponents call the Islamist president's power grab
The decrees sparked a crisis that has boiled for more than two weeks. Demonstrations have reached the size and intensity of those that brought down President Hosni Mubarak early last year.
In a televised address late yesterday, an angry Morsi refused to call off the vote on the disputed constitution. He accused some in the opposition of serving remnants of Mubarak's regime and vowed he would never tolerate anyone working for the overthrow of his government.
He also invited the opposition to a dialogue from Saturday at his palace, but he gave no sign that he might offer any meaningful concessions. Morsi's opponents said they would not talk until Morsi cancels his decrees.
Opposition leader and former Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi waves to the protesters as he gives a speech during a sit-in against the President Mohamed Morsi decree, in Tahrir Square, today
An unidentified Muslim cleric speaks during the Friday noon prayer as anti-Morsi protesters stage a sit-in against the President Mohamed Morsi decree, in Tahrir Square, in Cairo
Anti-Morsi protesters hold a banner reading in Arabic 'Go away' referring to the President Mohamed Morsi during today's protest in the heart of the city
Anti-Morsi protesters perform the Friday noon prayers as tensions in the Egyptian capital city remain high
The president's remarks were his first comments to the public after bloody clashes outside his palace on Wednesday, when thousands of his backers from the Muslim Brotherhood fought with the president's opponents. Six people were killed and at least 700 injured.
The speech brought shouts of 'the people want to topple the regime!' from the crowd of 30,000 Morsi opponents gathered outside his palace — the same chant heard in the protests that brought down Mubarak.
Since the crisis erupted, the opposition has tried to forge a united front. The squabbling groups created a National Salvation Front to bring them together, naming Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, the country's top reform campaigner, as its leader.
demonstrations are planned for the streets of Cairo today after Egypt's
Islamist President Mohamed Mursi failed to calm angry protestors in a
televised speech on national television last night
Moving in: An Egyptian Army tank deploys near the presidential palace to
secure the site after yesterday's overnight clashes between supporters and
opponents of President Mohammed Morsi
Egyptian Army generals claim they have moved in yesterday to keep the
peace between rival groups who have clashed outside the
Making a grab for power: An Egyptian army tank is seen behind barbed
wire securing the perimeter of the presidential palace in Cairo yesterday
Speaking on the new umbrella group's behalf, ElBaradei responded to Morsi's speech in his own televised remarks, saying that Morsi's government showed reluctance in acting to stop Wednesday night's bloodshed outside the palace.
He said this failure has eroded the government's legitimacy and made it difficult for his opposition front to negotiate with the president.
ElBaradei said Morsi has not responded to the opposition group's attempts to 'rescue the country' and that the president had 'closed the door for dialogue' by 'ignoring the demands of the people.'
Crisis: Tension has been building ever since President Morsi passed measures giving him almost total control over Egypt on November 22
Deadly: Seven people have died and hundreds more have been injured amid violent clashes in Cairo
Faith and force: Army soldiers install barbed wire, as supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi pray in the background
After today's prayers, protesters began marching to the palace from several different directions.
The April 6 movement, which played a key role in sparking the uprising against Mubarak, called its supporters to gather at mosques in Cairo and the neighboring city of Giza to march to the palace.
Egypt's military intervened for the first time yesterday, posting tanks around the palace and stringing barbed wire.
The military played a crucial role in ending Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule by taking over from him to manage a transitional period, but it has stayed out of the latest crisis until now.
The recent clashes are the first time rival groups have fought openly in the streets. Thousands of Mr Morsi's Islamist supporters descended on an area near the presidential palace where 300 opponents were staging a sit-in.
The fighting erupted late on Wednesday when members of Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood chased the protesters away from their base outside the palace's main gate and tore down their tents.
After a brief lull, hundreds of opponents arrived and began throwing firebombs at the president's backers, who responded with rocks.
Tanks: The Egyptian Army has moves in yesterday but promises not to repress demonstrators on either side
Appeal for unity: The United States and Britain have called for restraint and an 'inclusive' political process
The crowds swelled and the clashes continued well after nightfall, spreading from the immediate vicinity of the palace to residential streets nearby.
Hundreds of riot police could not stop the fighting as officers fired tear gas in a bid to disperse Mr Morsi's opponents.
Volunteers ferried the wounded on motorcycles to waiting ambulances, which rushed them to hospitals.
/12/06/article-0-165CF9B0000005DC-822_634x424.jpg” width=”634″ height=”424″ alt=”Violence: A supporter of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi chants slogans during clashes with opponents outside the presidential palace in Cairo yesterday” class=”blkBorder” />
Violence: A supporter of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi chants
slogans during clashes with opponents outside the presidential palace in
Cairo on Wednesday
Battle: Supporters of President Morsi attack an opponent during the confrontation outside the palace yesterday
VIDEO: Muslim Brotherhood say senior member of group attacked in Alexandra
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Explosive: The recent clashes are the bloodiest since last year's uprising which toppled ruler Hosni Mubarak
'No different': Opponents of President Morsi say his rule as leader of
the Muslim Brotherhood will be 'no different' from Hosni Mubarak
The Supreme Guide of Egypt's Muslim
Brotherhood, to which Mr Morsi belonged before he was narrowly elected
president in June, has appealed for unity.
Divisions among Egyptians 'only
serve the nation's enemies', Mohamed Badie said in a statement.
Opposition activist Hamdi Ghassan said protesters would arrive from other parts
of Cairo later in the day, accusing Mr Morsi's supporters of bringing in
people from the countryside to boost their presence.
Mr Morsi's opponents accuse him of
seeking to create a new 'dictatorship' with his November 22 decree.
The president has defended the move
as necessary to prevent courts still full of judges appointed by
Mubarak from derailing a constitution vital for Egypt's political
Around the palace, traffic was moving
through streets strewn with rocks thrown during violence in which
petrol bombs and guns were also used. Hundreds of Morsi supporters were
still in the area, many wrapped in blankets and some reading the Koran.
Tension: Supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood party throw stones at opposition protesters
Protest: Opponents of president Morsi chant anti Muslim Brotherhood slogans
'We came here to support President
Mursi and his decisions. He is the elected president of Egypt,' said
demonstrator Emad Abou Salem, 40. 'He has legitimacy and nobody else
Mr Morsi's opponents say the Muslim
Brotherhood, the group that propelled the president to power in a June
election, is behind the violence. The Brotherhood says the opposition is
to blame and that six of the dead were Mr Morsi supporters.
The United States, worried about the
stability of an Arab state which has a peace deal with Israel and which
receives $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid, urged dialogue. Britain has also
called for restraint and an 'inclusive' political process.
Egyptian Vice President Mahmoud Mekky proposed 'personal ideas' for a negotiated way out yesterday, saying
amendments to disputed articles in the constitution could be agreed with
the opposition. A written agreement could then go to parliament, to be
elected after this month's referendum on the constitution.
But the opposition stuck by its demand for Mr Morsi to cancel
the November 22 decree and postpone the referendum before any dialogue.
Protests spread to other cities, and offices of the Muslim Brotherhood's political party in Ismailia and Suez were torched.
But Mr Mursi has shown no sign of
buckling under pressure from protesters, confident that the Islamists,
who have dominated both elections since Mubarak was overthrown, can win
the referendum and the parliamentary election to follow.
As well as relying on his Brotherhood
power base, Mr Morsi may also draw on a popular yearning for stability and
economic revival after almost two years of political turmoil.
Opposition coordinator Mohamed
ElBaradei said yesterday the street action and the polarisation of
society were pushing Egypt into violence and 'could draw us to something
The Egyptian pound plunged 4 per cent today to its lowest level in eight years, after previously firming
on hopes that a $4.8 billion IMF loan would stabilise the economy. The
Egyptian stock market fell 4.4 per cent after it opened.