By Kanzy Mahmoud
Clashes erupted in Fayoum on Sunday between Muslim Brotherhood members and local residents following a march by the former.
Muslim Brotherhood members left the Muslim Youths mosque at night around 9PM and headed to Al-Sawaki square, marching in support of President Mohamed Morsi, said Hoda Ali Abbas, who collects petitions for Al-Dostour Party and was present at the time of the clashes.
Abbas stated that thousands of Brotherhood members were marching and carrying posters, while being protected by “almost 3,000 marchers wearing helmets and carrying pipes.”
“They wanted to pick a fight,” Abbas said.
Demonstrators held up banners with the pictures of Hamdeen Sabahi, Mohamed ElBaradei and other opposition leaders. Abbas stated that after verbal and physical confrontations with some members of the Tamarod campaign and residents of Al-Sawaki square, the Brotherhood protesters moved towards Al-Hawatem square and Al-Sheikh Hassan square, areas filled with many local cafes. She claimed that around 300 residents of those areas attacked the Brotherhood march and pelted rocks at the marchers after seeing that some were carrying chains.
“Birdshot and possibly gunshots were fired from both sides,” Abbas added. “To avoid further clashes, Fayoum residents blocked their streets with burned car tires and built popular committees.”
Brotherhood spokesperson Yasser Mehrez said that Brotherhood members in Fayoum started a peaceful protest and were attacked by Tamarod members.
Farid Sami, Muslim Brotherhood media coordinator, denied statements that Tamarod members were involved in any physical clashes or that the Tamarod or the Freedom and Justice Party headquarters in Fayoum were attacked in any way.
Sami stated it was a peaceful protest consisting of “40,000 Brotherhood members” and stressed that a former member of the now dissolved National Democratic Party was responsible for the clashes.
“[The perpetrator], a former People’s Assembly member, hired six thugs to stand on the rooftops of buildings and fire birdshot and throw Molotov cocktails on peaceful protesters, around thirty of whom were badly injured,” he said.
Abbas claimed that the police did not stop the clashes, watching them from afar. She added that Al-Fayoum Hospital refused to treat many of the civilians injured during the clashes.
“We, Fayoum opposition members, will file a lawsuit against the hospital and the Muslim Brotherhood tonight,” Abbas said.
Opposition movements are organising nationwide protests on 30 June to call for early presidential elections. The protests were originally called for by the Tamarod campaign, which has been collecting signatures from citizens withdrawing their confidence in President Morsi.