Saturday, January 26, 2013

Deadly Riots Erupt Across Egypt on Anniversary of Revolution

At the New York Times:

CAIRO — Violence erupted across Egypt on Friday as tens of thousands of demonstrators filled Tahrir Square to mark the second anniversary of the country’s revolution with an outpouring of rage against the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood. At least seven protesters and two police officers were killed in clashes in Suez, the state news media said.

More than 250 people were injured in similar battles around government buildings across the country, including the Interior Ministry, the presidential palace and the state television building in the capital. The deaths reported in the city of Suez took place near the provincial government headquarters, which protesters set on fire. Muslim Brotherhood offices were ransacked or burned in at least three cities, including Ismailia, the Suez Canal town where the group was founded 85 years ago.

In the most striking episode, masked men attacked the offices of the Brotherhood’s Web site in Cairo, upending furniture, littering the floor with broken glass and papers and smashing computers. Several witnesses said the assailants came in a large group to the third floor, carrying pellet guns and acid to burn through the padlock, and left with computer hard drives.

“They said, ‘We are here to destroy this place,’ ” said Ragab Abdel Hamid, 36, a printer who works for a liberal organization in the same building and tried to contain the attack. “It was planned.” Unknown assailants had blasted the metal doors to the same office with a fire bomb just days before, leaving flame marks, and the gates had been refortified.

The violence — from Alexandria in the north to Aswan in the south — dramatized the deepening chasm of animosity and distrust dividing the Brotherhood from its opponents. Although the Islamists of the Brotherhood have dominated elections since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, another broad segment of the population harbors deep suspicions of the group’s conservative ideology, hierarchical structure and insular ethos.

Those doubts were only redoubled last month when President Mohamed Morsi, with the Brotherhood’s political party, temporarily overruled the authority of the judiciary in order to ensure that his Islamist allies could push through an Islamist-backed Constitution to referendum over the objections of other parties and the Coptic Church.

“Egyptians will never let the Muslim Brotherhood rule — over our dead bodies,” said Heba Samir, 36, catching her breath by the Nile after fleeing tear gas outside the state television building.
More at that top link, and also, "Street-Level Views of Protests in Cairo to Commemorate 2 Years of Revolution."