One death was confirmed Wednesday night after clashes following a rally to support President Mohammed Morsi in Mansoura.
After being sieged inside Al-Jam’eya Al-Shar’eya Mosque, Daqahleya, roughly 120 Islamist protesters were finally freed by police, said Mohamed Al-Mohandes from the Tamarod movement in Mansoura.
They had been held inside the mosque since Wednesday afternoon, when the deadly clashes began.
The violence erupted after a rally by the Freedom and Justice Party and several other Islamist parties, held to show their support for the legitimacy of President Mohamed Morsi, ahead of his Wednesday night speech.
Both parties in the conflict have claimed that the other side instigated attacks with sticks and by firing birdshot.
The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression said in a statement on Wednesday that journalist Mohamed Heeza was kidnapped while covering the clashes. Al-Mohandes told the Daily News Egypt that Heeza, who is his friend, was found unconscious Thursday morning, and that his body showed marks of beating and electric shocks, adding that he is now in a coma at Al-Mansoura University Hospital.
Al-Mohandes said things are now calm, and that the Muslim Brotherhood has completely withdrawn from the scene.
The Ministry of Health has reported over 240 injured in Mansoura.
In Zagazig, in the governorate of Sharqeya, clashes also took place on Wednesday. Ahmed Mostafa, who has been participating in the sit-in outside the governorate building, said the clashes took place after repeated “provocations” from the Muslim Brotherhood.
He claimed that this was a trap for the opposition protesters, and that the “Brotherhood used every weapon that the police have.”
Mostafa said the police did not intervene during the clashes, adding that they withdrew from the scene at around 3,30 am.
Mostafa said calm was restored at around 8,00 am.
Dozens have been injured in Zagazig, and investigations into the clashes have begun, state-run MENA reported.
Freedom and Justice Party media adviser Mourad Ali said that the crimes of killing and vandalism that took place in Mansoura and Sharqeya were carried out by “professional thugs hired by corrupt figures of the National Democratic Party,” in a statement released after the clashes. He added that those responsible are being aided by some members of the National Salvation Front and Tamarod campaign.
“This asserts that the upcoming battle against corruption is a decisive battle,” he said.
He went on to claim that marches in support of the president’s legitimacy were attacked with live shots.
Ali declared that all of the martyrs were supporters of Morsi, and that their blood would not go to waste.