Divided over ousted President Morsi, Egyptians clash on Cairo streets | Africa | DW | 13.08.2013
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Divided over ousted President Morsi, Egyptians clash on Cairo streets

Supporters and opponents of Egypt’s ousted president have clashed in Cairo leaving at least one person dead. Security forces are, however, yet to follow through with threats to disperse pro-Mohammed Morsi protest camps.

One person was killed and at least 10 were injured on Tuesday when clashes erupted in Cairo's Giza neighborhood, security forces said.

Violence broke out as supporters of the ousted president marched from al-Nahda square, the site of one of two large pro-Morsi sit-ins, to Faisal Street in Giza. Residents began pelting the protesters with rocks, prompting an exchange of fire from both sides.

Earlier in the day further clashes were reported after thousands of Morsi supporters marched to Cairo's Interior Ministry. They and their opponents hurled rocks and bottles at one another and police fired volleys of tear gas to break up the battles.

The repeated clashes are symptomatic of a country still deeply divided six weeks after the army overthrew Morsi.

Muslim Brotherhood camps at Cairo's al-Nahda Square and around Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque make up the heart of the resistance to the military and the civilian government it installed. Morsi supporters have stood their ground behind barricades, despite repeated warnings from the army-installed government that the protesters should pack up and leave.

Protest camps untouched

Police had announced on Monday that they had postponed plans to move in with force, fearing violence after protesters reinforced the sit-ins at two major sites. However by Tuesday evening security forces had not followed through with that threat.

A security source said the delay was partially because demonstrators had flocked to the camps after reports of an imminent crackdown.

Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said efforts were being made to resolve the situation through dialogue. The interior ministry had announced that gradual measures would be taken to regain control of the areas, warning that it might use water cannon and tear gas.

Steps from here

Morsi took office in June 2012 as Egypt's first freely elected leader following the overthrow of long-ruling strongman Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising the previous year. However, he failed to get to grips with a deep economic malaise and worried many Egyptians with what they saw as efforts to tighten Islamist rule.

Since his July 3 ouster by the army, Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders have been in detention. More than 250 people have already died in political violence since Morsi's overthrow, including dozens of his supporters killed by security forces in two separate incidents.

The interim government installed by the army has planned for elections next spring.

ccp, mkg/av (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)