Egyptian police, protesters clash in central Cairo
The Associated Press | November 20,2012
CAIRO — Clashes between protesters and Egyptian security forces intensified after nightfall Monday, marking the anniversary of a bloody confrontation in Cairo, when 42 people were killed in a street battle months after the uprising that ousted the country’s longtime president.
Hundreds of demonstrators threw rocks at police, who fired tear gas and birdshot in response. A medical official said 60 protesters and 10 policemen were injured. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.
The clash was a small scale reprise of one of the fiercest confrontations after last year’s popular revolution, when the protesters who brought about the overthrow of longtime President Hosni Mubarak returned to the streets to demonstrate against the harsh measures imposed by the military, which took over from the ousted leader.
The persistent unrest reflects divisions plaguing Egypt 21 months after Mubarak’s downfall in February 2011. While young, mostly secular activists spearheaded the uprising, the main winners in the aftermath have been fundamentalist Islamic movements — the Muslim Brotherhood, which won elections for parliament and president, and the more extreme Salafis, who have also shown considerable electoral strength.
That has left the frustrated liberal activists on the outside, demonstrating against both the military and the Brotherhood.
On Monday, protesters tore down a cement block wall between Cairo’s downtown Tahrir Square, the focus of huge demonstrations last year, and the headquarters of the security forces.
While the casualties were lower, many of the scenes were almost eerily the same as a year ago.
Protesters riding motorbikes rushed the injured to a field hospital. Others carried pictures of demonstrators killed in last year’s crackdowns by the military.
Demonstrators hung a banner read, “Muslim Brotherhood not allowed,” while others chanted, “the people want to topple the regime,” referring to Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood avoided street confrontations with the military rulers last year to focus instead on campaigning and elections.
Protester Abdullah Waleed said the protest was aimed at opening main roads that have been blocked for a year.