The second anniversary of Egypt’s uprising began today with further clashes between protesters and police.
Protesters attempting to enter Cairo’s famous Tahir square, where revolutionaries gathered to call for the downfall of dictator Hosni Mubarak two years ago, clashed with police when they found one of the entrances blocked. Police fired tear gas at a group of protesters who had attempted to remove barriers blocking a road leading into the square last night. Protesters fought back, throwing petrol bombs and firecrackers at police lines, and clashes continued into the early hours of the morning. According to the Health Ministry sixteen people were injured in the clashes, but peace had returned to the streets by dawn.
President Mursi has called for ‘peaceful’ celebrations of the anniversary, and his Mulism Brotherhood Party has planned low key social initiatives to mark the day. His opponents, who accuse Mursi of trying to grab power for the Islamist Brotherhood, failing to represent women and non-muslims, and ultimately ‘betraying the revolution’, have called for a mass rally in the capital.
“I call on everyone to take part and go out to every place in Egypt to show that the revolution must be completed,” said prominent opposition figure Mohamed El Baradei.
Crowds of ‘revolutionary youth’ and other protesters are expected to gather in Tahir Square after Friday prayers today. Additional protests are also expected to take place in towns and cities across Egypt.
Mr Mursi has dismissed the criticism against him and acussed his opponents of undermining democracy by refusing to respect the democratic mandate which he won in elections last year. In a speech on Thursday the President called on Egyptians to mark the anniversary “in a civilised, peaceful way that safeguards our nation, our institutions, our lives”.
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