Alexandria Protests Turn Violent

On the Friday before the Tamarod campaign planned to march to the main presidential palace in Cairo, protests erupted across Egypt both in support of, and in opposition to, President Morsi. Protests turned violent in Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city, and elsewhere, though events in Cairo remained largely peaceful. Four people were confirmed killed during the day, including an American student who was stabbed while watching, and possibly filming, the protest in Alexandria. In addition to being the site of American student Andrew Pochter’s death, Alexandria saw the death of two Egyptians, a fourteen-year-old boy and a twenty-six-year old man.

Protests were held by a variety of opposition groups, including the newly-created June 30 Front. In Cairo, marchers opposed to President Morsi gathered around the city and then converged on Tahrir Square. Protesters waved red cards – a symbol of ejection in soccer – and chanted “Irhal!” (“Get out!”). At an Islamist rally at Raba’a al-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City, a Cairo suburb, the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies repeated their calls for reconciliation. Hard hats and wooden canes were available for purchase, and men were carrying PVC tubing and wooden planks for “self-defense” purposes.

In Alexandria, protests were concentrated around Sidi Gaber Square. Protesters in Alexandria also attacked the local headquarters of the Freedom and Justice Party, ultimately setting it on fire. Like their Cairene counterparts, protesters at Sidi Gaber waved red cards imprinted with “Irhal!” A video posted online by the newspaper al-Masry al-Youm showed what appeared to be Muslim Brotherhood members with weapons, including homemade pistols, around the clashes there.

The protests were not confined to Egypt’s primary cities. In addition to Cairo and Alexandria, protests were planned for Sharqiya, Gharbiya, Assiut, and Daqahliya. In a statement, the Freedom and Justice Party said that its buildings were attacked in Baheira, Daqahliya, and Kafr al-Sheikh, and that its members suffered violence against them in Gharbiya and Qalyubia.