Egypt crisis: Fatal clashes claim five lives in Cairo

Thursday, December 6th, 2012 11:14:21 by

At least five people were killed and more than 300 injured in Cairo in clashes between supporters of President Mohammed Morsy and opponents of his proposed constitutional reforms.


Mohamed Soltan, Egypt’s top rescue official, told the media that nearly 350 people were also injured in the clashes.  He observed, “In Heliopolis neighbourhood in a Cairo suburb, many of the protesters left and only a few hundred allies and foes of Morsi remained. They were throwing fire bombs and rocks at each other as shots rang out.”


Fighting broke out on Wednesday when members of President Morsy’s Muslim Brotherhood confronted protesters who had been camping outside a presidential building in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis since the previous day.


The two sides threw stones and petrol bombs in clashes that injured about 350 people, Al Jazeera cited Health Ministry officials as saying.  The camp was set up by protesters opposed to a draft constitution passed by the assembly last week, and to a decree granting the president sweeping new powers.


Opposition leaders have accused the Muslim Brotherhood of organising the violence. The government said a referendum on the constitution will go ahead this month.


Speaking earlier on Wednesday, Vice-President Mahmoud Mekki said the vote was still scheduled for 15 December, but that the door for dialogue remained open, indicating that changes could be made to the document later.


Critics say the draft was rushed through parliament without proper consultation and that it does not do enough to protect political and religious freedoms and the rights of women. The draft added to the anger generated by Morsi passing a decree in late November which granted him wide-ranging new powers.


On Wednesday, three advisors to Morsi stepped down as clashes between his supporters and opponents turn violent outside the palace.  Amr al-Laythi, Seif Abdel Fattah, and Ayman al-Sayyad announced that they had submitted their resignations in protest over his handling of a crisis over the country’s new constitution.
The latest resignations bring to six the number of advisors who have quit the president’s panel of 17 advisors since the crisis began on November 22.

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