Violence returns to Cairo’s Tahrir Square: Sparked by anger on Brotherhood; More than 100 are hurt in clash
Thousands of supporters and opponents of Egypt’s new Islamist president clashed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday in the first such violence since Mohammed Morsi took office more than three months ago, as liberal and secular activists erupted with anger over accusations the Muslim Brotherhood was trying to take over the country.
The two sides hurled stones and chunks of concrete and beat each other with sticks for several hours, leaving more than 100 injured, according to the state news agency.
Two buses used by the Brotherhood to bring in supporters were set aflame behind the Egyptian Museum, the repository of the country’s pharaonic antiquities, and thick black smoke billowed into the sky in scenes reminiscent of last year’s clashes between protesters against the regime of then-leader Hosni Mubarak and his backers.
The melee erupted amid two competing rallies in Tahrir. One was by liberal and secular activists to criticize Morsi’s failure to fulfill promises he had made for his first 100 days in power, the other had been called by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The clashes occurred as criticism among leftists, liberals, and secularists against Morsi has been growing since he was inaugurated more than three months ago as Egypt’s first freely elected president. Opponents accuse Morsi, the Brotherhood, and other Islamists of trying to impose their dominance and Islamize the state, including through the writing of a new constitution.