Demonstrators Ambushed Outside Ittihadeya Presidential Palace

Clashes between supporters and opponents of President Muhammad Morsi left four dead outside of the Ittihadeya Presidential Palace and 350 injured across Cairo. The confrontation between the two groups can be traced to the decree by Morsi on November 22 “giving him near unrestricted powers,” though the more immediate spark today came when Morsi’s Vice President Mahmoud Mekki stated that “there would be no backing down by Morsi.” Supporters of the President armed with clubs and other weapons ambushed the opposition groups that had camped outside the Palace. The violence extended to the governorates of Ismailia and Sharqia, where anti-Morsi protesters torched local Muslim Brotherhood headquarters buildings.

Mohamed ElBaradei condemned the violence, calling it “a vicious and deliberate attack against peaceful demonstrators.” He added, “We hold President Morsi and his government completely responsible for the violence that is happening in Egypt today.” The General Secretary of the Supreme Committee on the Constitution Referendum Zaghloul al-Balshi resigned amid news of the deaths, stating that “[he] will not participate in a referendum that spilled Egyptian blood.” In addition, at least three other advisors to President Morsi announced their resignations.