By: Rita Metiyas
Clashes erupted in Smouha, Alexandria on Friday evening between government supporters and Muslim Brotherhood opponents in the square housing the destroyed Brotherood office building.
Anonymous assailants threw firebombs at the anti-Brotherhood protesters as the two demonstrating sides hurled stones and rocks at each other. Security forces fired teargas to disperse the clashes.
Mohamed Soudan, the Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson in Alexandria, said: “The protesters come with their weapons and rubber bullets to attack stores and offices and destroy Alexandria, and for what? They are trying to attack the Brotherhood offices, but they will not be able to because we must defend ourselves and this city.”
After the Friday prayers, anti-Brotherhood demonstrators marched from the Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque to the local Muslim Brotherhood office, demanding Morsi’s removal and calling for the military to return to power.
“Once the march arrived at the office, the Brotherhood started throwing rocks, and police calmed down the situation with teargas,” Soudan said. “However, the clashes started again in the Sidi Gaber area and went on for a while.”
The Brotherhood was prepared for protests after clashes erupted last Friday. “We expect weekly visits from thugs and protesters covering their faces. If you want to convey your demands then express yourself by using your right to protest, shout, scream, or hold banners, not by attacking, cursing and destroying your city,” Soudan added.
Mohamed Gabr, a journalist covering the clashes in Alexandria, was arrested with 12 others. “When the police found out that I’m a journalist they started questioning and searching me and took my equipment, personal information and ID. I was arrested around 9 pm and released at 12 midnight,” he said.
Similar demonstrations took place in the president’s home province of Al-Sharqeya in the Nile River Delta. Clashes occurred between protesters and riot police when Morsi’s opponents tried to set fire to the Brotherhood office in the city of Zagazig.
In Mahalla, there was a peaceful demonstration on Friday evening. Ahmed Samy, an activist in Mahalla, said “There were no clashes, just peaceful demonstrations where the 6 April movement showed some documentaries and distributed pamphlets and people held candles; completely violence-free.”
Meanwhile in Cairo, demonstrators rallied demanding the removal of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil and Prosecutor General Tala’at Abdallah. They gathered in front of the office of the Prosecutor General, sealed off the office, and displayed a sign that read: “Leave. Enough.”
On Monday, the prosecutor general issued arrest warrants for five of Egypt’s major democracy advocates and activists, claiming that they initiated violence last week near the Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo where 200 people were injured.