Protests by supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi in the governorates of Qaliubiya, Mansoura and Damietta on Monday escalated to clashes, leaving at least two dead.
Pro-Morsi protesters were reportedly harassed by residents of the areas where protests were held, incidents which soon led to clashes. Tarek Al-Morsi, Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) spokesman, denied that the harassers were local residents.
“They are thugs affiliated with Homeland Security posing as residents,” Al-Morsi claimed. “All residents of Egypt are against the coup [that removed Morsi from power].”
A pro-Morsi protest took off from the city of Qaliub, Qaliubiya, after the noon prayers, and headed towards the Cairo-Alexandria agricultural road, said Amir Eissa, Al-Dostour Party member in Qaliubiya. Eissa said the protest was repeatedly harassed and pelted with rocks by residents during its procession.
When the protest reached Abu Senna village, Eissa said, protesters began to clash with residents. Two people were killed by live ammunition as a result; Eissa claimed both victims were residents, allegedly shot by pro-Morsi supporters.
Security forces then intervened and arrested two pro-Morsi protesters for possession of weapons, Eissa said. Upon the arrests, pro-Morsi protesters surrounded the military police checkpoint where the two detainees were held.
“The residents started attacking the protesters with rocks,” Eissa said. “They kept pushing them apart until they dispersed the march.”
Eissa stated that amid the clashes, the FJP headquarters in Qaliub was torched and the house of Ahmed Diab, member of the Muslim Brotherhood guidance bureau, was attacked.
The clashes blocked the Cairo-Alexandria agricultural road for at least five hours reported state-run Al-Ahram.
Clashes also erupted during a pro-Morsi protest in Al-Bosta Square in Damietta. Magda Abdel Razeq, media coordinator of the 6 April movement, led by Ahmed Maher, said clashes began after residents tried to stop the protest. She added that sticks and rocks were used during the clashes, and that pro-Morsi protesters were armed with blades.
Abdel Razeq denied that it was “thugs” who clashed with pro-Morsi protesters.
“I saw them with my own eyes; they were residents,” Abdel Razeq said. “The people are sick of pro-Morsi supporters.”
Al-Morsi claimed that eyewitnesses who reported that residents clashed with pro-Morsi supporters were “fabricated”. He added that such eyewitnesses are pushed by Homeland Security to issue false testimonies.
In Mansoura, Daqahleya, pro-Morsi supporters led a march to Al-Thawra Square after the evening prayers, said Mohamed Al-Gohary, a Mansoura journalist. Al-Thawra Square is the location of an anti-Morsi sit-in.
Clashes between pro-Morsi supporters and residents soon erupted, only broken up by the arrival of Central Security Forces who used teargas to disperse the clashes, Al-Gohary claimed. Al-Ahram reported that unknown assailants attacked the pro-Morsi protest.
Security forces then arrested over 20 for carrying weapons, most of them being pro-Morsi protesters, Al-Gohary said. He claimed that there were several injuries by birdshot, adding that it was the pro-Morsi supporters who used birdshot.
At least three women died in clashes between supporters of Morsi and anti-Morsi protesters in Mansoura on Friday. Al-Mansoura prosecution ordered the detention of two accused of causing the women’s death on Monday, reported Al-Ahram.
Rana Muhammad Taha