Protesters throw fireworks on police in front of the
presidential palace, in Cairo. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih
Dozens of Egyptian protesters were wounded on Friday when
youths hurling petrol bombs at President Mohamed Mursi's palace
clashed with riot police, as thousands took to the streets to
demand the overthrow of the Islamist leader.
Youths threw petrol bombs and shot fireworks at the outer
wall of Mursi's Cairo presidential compound as night fell,
and police responded by firing water cannon and tear gas.
The head of Egypt's ambulance service said 54 people had been
wounded across the country, mostly in Cairo, although there
were no reports of deaths by evening.
The renewed demonstrations brought an end to a few days of
calm after the deadliest week of Mursi's seven months in
power. Protests marking the second anniversary of the
uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak have killed
nearly 60 people since Jan. 25, prompting the head of the
army to warn this week that the state was on the verge of
With multi-coloured fireworks bouncing off their shields and
bursting among them, helmeted and baton-wielding riot police
chased protesters at the palace and set their tents ablaze.
Petrol bombs briefly set fire to a building inside the
The head of the Republican Guard, which protects the palace,
condemned what he described as attempts to climb the compound
walls and storm a gate. In a statement to the state news
agency, he urged protesters to keep their demonstration
Earlier, men dressed in mourning black marched through the
Suez Canal city of Port Said, scene of the worst bloodshed of
the past nine days, chanting and shaking their fists.
"There is no God but God and Mohamed Mursi is the enemy of
God," they chanted. Brandishing portraits of those killed in
recent days, they shouted: "We will die like they did, to get
There were also scuffles earlier near Cairo's central Tahrir
Square, where police fired teargas at stone-throwing youths.
In Alexandria, protesters blocked roads, staged a sit-in on
the railway and tried to break into the TV and radio
The protesters accuse Mursi of betraying the spirit of the
revolution by concentrating too much power in his own hands
and those of his Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood accuses
the opposition of trying to overthrow the first
democratically elected leader in Egypt's 5,000-year history.
Mohamed Ahmed, 26, protesting at the presidential palace,
said: "I am here because I want my rights, the ones the
revolution called for and which were never achieved."
For the Port Said marchers, Friday was also the first
anniversary of a soccer stadium riot that killed 70 people
last year. Death sentences handed down on Saturday against 21
Port Said men over the riots helped fuel the past week's
violence there, which saw dozens shot dead in clashes with
Friday's marches took place despite an intervention by Ahmed
al-Tayyeb, head of the 1,000-year-old al-Azhar university and
mosque, who hauled in politicians for crisis talks on
Thursday where they signed a charter disavowing violence.
Mursi's foes said the pact did not require them to call off
"We brought down the Mubarak regime with a peaceful
revolution and are determined to realise the same goals in
the same way, regardless of the sacrifices or the barbaric
oppression," tweeted Mohamed ElBaradei, a former head of the
U.N. nuclear watchdog who has become a secularist leader.
The main opposition National Salvation Front denied it was to
blame for the unrest. Mursi's office said it would "hold the
political forces that may have participated in incitement
fully politically responsible, pending results of
Tahrir Square has become a graffiti-scarred monument to
Egypt's perpetual turmoil, strewn with barbed wire and
burnt-out cars. Vendors sold flag bracelets, pharaonic
statues, sunflower seeds, water and fruit while the
A man with a microphone shouted to the crowd, calling for
Mursi to be put on trial. "We came here to get rid of Mursi,"
said furniture dealer Mohammed al-Nourashi, 57.